Obama meets US tech titans, including Apple's Jobs
President Barack Obama Thursday met the cream of Silicon Valley business titans, including Apple's Steve Jobs, to seek input on how to speed up job growth and economic recovery.
Obama dined with a small group of 12 tech sector leaders that also included Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Yahoo president and CEO Carol Bartz, Twitter CEO Dick Costello and Google chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt.
The group discussed "ways to work together to invest in American innovation and promote private sector job growth," said spokesman Jay Carney after the event.
Obama "believes that American companies like these have been leading by investing in the creativity and ingenuity of the American people, creating cutting-edge new technologies and promoting new ways to communicate."
The president discussed his proposals "to invest in research and development and expand incentives for companies to grow and hire, along with his goal of doubling exports over five years to support millions of American jobs."
There was also "a lot of discussion about ways to encourage people to study science, technology, engineering and math, and to go into STEM fields," Carney added.
The meeting took place amid renewed speculation about the health of Jobs, who last month embarked on his third medical leave from Apple since 2004.
Jobs underwent an operation for pancreatic cancer in 2004 and received a liver transplant in early 2009.
Apple's fortunes have been uniquely linked to Jobs, who returned to the then flagging company in 1997 after a 12-year absence and introduced innovative and wildly successful products like the iPod, iPhone and iPad.
Obama also met the heads of Google, Facebook and Twitter for the first time since the search and social networks were judged to have played a key role in the Egyptian revolt which toppled president Hosni Mubarak.
On Tuesday Schmidt said Google was "very, very proud" of cyberactivist Wael Ghonim, a young executive at the company who emerged as a leading voice of the Egyptian uprising.
Ghonim, Google's head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa, ran a Facebook page that was a key virtual gathering point for protest organizers.
In an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes", Ghonim said the protests would not have happened without online social networks.
"If there was no social networks, it would have never been sparked," he said.
"Without Facebook, without Twitter, without Google, without You Tube, this would have never happened."
On Friday Obama is due to travel on to the western state of Oregon to tour a site that will become one of the world's most advanced semi-conductor plants, as he seeks drive home his message that the US economy must innovate as it seeks to compete with rising giants India and China.
(c) 2011 AFP