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Tim Cook: If we don't oppose travel ban, 'we become a part of it'

Commentary: Speaking at the University of Glasgow, the Apple CEO insists Apple is not an activist company.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

Apple isn't an activist, but is actively opposed to the immigration order.

Stephen Lam, Getty Images

Donald Trump has, in the past, called for a boycott on Apple products.

This was after Cupertino had refused an FBI request to hack a phone issued to one of the terrorists involved in the 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.

I wonder, though, whether the president might have itchy Twitter fingers after Apple's CEO made a strong statement on Wednesday against Trump's order temporarily banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Speaking at Scotland's University of Glasgow -- where he was receiving an honorary degree -- Cook made his opposition to the order clear.

As reported by the university's own Twitter feed, he said: "If we stand and say nothing we become a part of it, our company thrives on diversity."

Cook appears to believe that this is a moral, as well as a political issue, just as he does with respect to privacy. He insisted, though, that Apple isn't a political company.

"I don't believe Apple is an activist and I don't view myself as an activist," he said, answering a question from the audience. "A lot of people hear that word and think about sort of a professional activist." He suggested that Apple carefully picks the issues it addresses loudly.

"For things that we have some deep knowledge of -- or think we do -- or a strong point of view based on things we want, that gives us some standing, we're not shy," he said.

The dry will suggest that at least part of why Apple is objecting to the order is because the company wants to continue being able to hire foreign nationals on H1-B visas. This allows the company to hire more cheaply than in the US and potentially keep the employee for longer.

Apple is one of more than 90 tech companies that have signed a letter speaking out against the so-called ban. Cook also wrote a memo to employees laying out the company's opposition.

Apple is also one of the most admired brands in the world. When its CEO comes forward to address the order so forcefully, it makes a strong impression.

Of course, there's now the not-so-small matter of doing something about it. I suspect it will take a lot more than a letter and compelling statements.

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