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The Top Five Tech Rivals Join Forces to Shape Policy—and Fight the Government

Here’s how Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft strategically push back against the U.S. on data privacy and other big issues while slugging it out in the marketplace.
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U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes members of his American Technology Council, including (from left) Apple CEO Tim Cook, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at the White House June 19.

U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes members of his American Technology Council, including (from left) Apple CEO Tim Cook, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at the White House June 19.

Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America

On Sunday, Jan. 29, Microsoft Corp. President Brad Smith convened a conference call with top lawyers and policy staffers of Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and other technology companies, according to people familiar with the meeting. U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order halting travel from seven majority Muslim nations had stranded employees and threatened their workforces. Now the companies were huddling over how to proceed.

A week later, the ideas generated during that call became the basis of an impassioned legal brief signed by more than 120 companies opposing the ban. Yesterday the Supreme Court reinstated parts of the ban and said it will hear arguments in the case in the fall.