Apple has done the best job avoiding blowback from Trump and lawmakers: Roger McNamee

Key Points
  • Apple's done a great job avoiding blowbacks President Trump and lawmakers, Elevation Partners' Roger McNamee says.
  • The longtime venture capitalist cites Apple's partial exemption from tariffs and its privacy efforts.
  • Apple "hasn't trumpeted that story as aggressively as I would if I were in their shoes," McNamee says.
Tim Cook, Chief Executive Officer of Apple, speaks as President Donald Trump listens during an American Technology Council roundtable in the State Dinning Room of the White House, Monday, June 19, 2017, in Washington.
Alex Brandon | AP

Apple has been more successful than others in Silicon Valley in avoiding policy blowbacks from President Donald Trump and lawmakers, according to Roger McNamee, an early investor in Google and Facebook.

The longtime venture capitalist spoke after word that some of Apple's best-known products, including its watch and wireless headphones, would not be affected by the Trump administration's latest round of tariffs on Chinese imports.

According to the Washington Post, Apple CEO Tim Cook had personally lobbied Trump against adopting tariffs that would threaten to increase prices on those items.

But Apple's ability to navigate Washington politics does not stop there, McNamee said told CNBC on Wednesday.

"Apple is really differentiating itself on privacy right now and protecting its customers from an increasingly hostile digital environment," said the managing director at Elevation Partners.

McNamee cited privacy improvements that Apple has made to its payment software, maps, and facial recognition.

However, apparent disregard for consumers' privacy is something that has gotten Apple's peers in trouble on Capitol Hill, McNamee said.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg spoke with lawmakers earlier this month on social media's role in protecting elections from misinformation and disinformation.

No one from Google attended. The Alphabet unit was sharply criticized for not sending a C-suite executive.

Apple "hasn't trumpeted that story [privacy] as aggressively as I would if I were in their shoes," McNamee said.

But while Apple has avoided push back from Washington, the tech giant still may be at risk, he added.

Amid trade tensions between the U.S. and China, Apple could be vulnerable to nontariff related actions by China, said McNamee without elaborating.