Obama to meet Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
© AFP/Getty Images/File Justin Sullivan


WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama will meet ailing Apple chief Steve Jobs and other US high-tech gurus Thursday in California, US officials have said.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt will also participate in the closed doors meeting, part of an event with business leaders in Silicon Valley, an official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

ABC News reported that Facebook’s 26-year-old founder Mark Zuckerberg would also participate in the talks, just days after Egyptian protesters toppled Hosni Mubarak’s decades-old regime in a popular uprising facilitated by social networks.

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, administered a Facebook page that helped spark the uprising.

The 30-year-old also appeared in an emotional television interview shortly after he was released from police custody after 12 days that is credited with re-energizing the movement just as it seemed to be losing steam.

In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday, Ghonim said the protests which led to Mubarak’s ouster would not have happened without online social networks.

“If there was no social networks it would have never been sparked,” he said.

“Because the whole thing before the revolution was the most critical thing. Without Facebook, without Twitter, without Google, without You Tube, this would have never happened.”

Last month, Jobs announced he was stepping aside, but did not say how long he expected to be away or provide any details about his latest health issues.

Jobs underwent an operation for pancreatic cancer in 2004 and received a liver transplant in early 2009. He has appeared gaunt but relatively healthy at recent Apple public events.

On January 17 Jobs turned over the helm to chief operating officer Timothy Cook, but kept his chief executive title and said at the time he would still participate in “major strategic decisions” at Apple.

Schmidt is due to leave his post at the helm of Google in April, letting co-founder Larry Page step in as part of a major shakeup of the company’s top management.

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