updated 07:00 pm EST, Wed March 5, 2014
Tour of Silicon Valley part of California-Israel technology partnership deal
On Wednesday, visiting head of state Benjamin Netanyahu -- the prime minister of Israel -- met with Apple CEO Tim Cook and the founders of Facebook's recently-acquired WhatsApp as part of a tour of Silicon Valley, part of a state government initiative to forge stronger trade and business relationships between California and Israel. According to reports, Netanyahu had lunch with Cook at Apple's Cupertino headquarters.
Gov. Jerry Brown and Israeli PM Netanyahu
Netanyahu and California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed an agreement intended to strengthen commercial ties and the development of joint technology, environmental and cybersecurity projects. Apple has a number of projects headquartered in Israel, including three research and development centers and its 2012 acquisition of Israeli firm flash memory firm Anobit, the latter of which which now works on Apple's Ax series of processors as well as flash memory and storage innovations.
In addition, Apple purchased Israel's PrimeSense last year, best known for having invented the infrared motion-tracking technology behind Microsoft's original Kinect camera, though it also creates specialized sensors, chips and other 3D and motion-related technologies. Among other topics, Cook is likely to talk to Netanyahu about Apple's recent iPad agreement with Turkey, in which the latter country is likely to buy millions of the tablets to upgrade its educational infrastructure, as well as the possibility of opening official retail stores in Israel.
Following lunch with Cook, Netanyahu headed to Stanford University for a meeting with its president, and later met with WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton, who sold their popular messaging app to Facebook for a staggering $19 billion in cash and stock. The visit to California is the first by an Israeli prime minister since 2006.