Tim Cook Visits iPhone X Supplier, Normandy Cemetery, and ‘My Little Paris’ Startup on French Trip [Updated]

Monday
Apple CEO Tim Cook is in Paris today ahead of a meeting with the French president Emmanuel Macron at 4:15 CEST. Before that meeting happens, Cook has a full itinerary for his day and the CEO has been documenting parts of his travels on Twitter.

Cook’s first Tweet noted his visitation to Eldim, a company based in Normandy that specializes in creating advanced optical metrology tools. Eldim is a component supplier of the upcoming iPhone X, providing Apple with critical components of the iPhone X’s Face ID biometric security system.

Specifically, Eldim is said to be responsible for the eye detection abilities of Face ID — a crucial factor in Apple’s new software, which can detect when a user’s eyes are open (unlocking the iPhone X) or closed (keeping the smartphone locked). Eldim CEO Thierry Leroux called the collaboration with Apple “an incredible adventure.” Leroux further stated that, “for us it was a bit like sending someone to the moon.” Tim Cook was said to have responded with a congratulations and telling the company and its 42 employees, “it’s great what you did for us!” (via Mac Generation and Ouest-France).

While in Normandy, Cook visited the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, which honors the American lives that were lost in Europe during World War II.

Cook also made a surprise visit to a startup called “My Little Paris” where he shared a roast chicken with employees. My Little Paris specializes in recommending sites and attractions to see around the city. Originating as a weekly newsletter created by Fany Péchiodat and sent to her friends and family, the original idea has since evolved into a $42 million startup.

Next up should be Cook’s meeting with Macron. The topics of discussion for this meeting are being kept secret, but the two men are largely expected to talk about the issue of corporate tax law in France. In August, France and Germany announced preparations to stop tech companies like Apple from exploiting tax loopholes in their respective countries, with Macron leading the crackdown on international tech companies in France.

Cook’s visit to France in 2017 follows a troublesome period of months for Apple back in 2016, when the European Commission ruled that Apple received illegal state aid from Ireland and ordered the company to pay $14.5 billion in back taxes. Apple appealed the decision in December of 2016 by arguing the European Commission made “fundamental errors” in its ruling, but the Cupertino company has noted that it expects the case to continue for several years.

In the wake of these reports, Cook called the tax avoidance claims “total political crap,” writing an open letter that stated Apple has become “the largest taxpayer in the world,” and that the company “follows the law and we pay all the taxes we owe.”

Update: Cook also visited the offices of “CoachGuitar,” an app that teaches users how to play the guitar.



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