While Bezos has a unique double position as the owner of the Post and Amazon, many other tech companies have forged close relationships with the kingdom.
Last year, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman toured the U.S. and met with many tech executives, including Bezos, Alphabet President Sergey Brin and Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Apple has reportedly been in talks to open retail locations in the country, and Microsoft announced a cloud-computing product in Saudi Arabia earlier this year with local partners. In its blog post, Microsoft estimated the country has an almost $29 billion cloud-computing market, “driven by a strong trend from government agencies in Saudi Arabia to take advantage of this technology to meet the digital transformation objectives and help achieving the Saudi Vision 2030,” which is the crown prince’s grand plan to make the kingdom an “investment powerhouse.”
Apple and Microsoft declined to comment.
Additionally, Saudi money is now all over Silicon Valley. The country’s Public Investment Fund committed $45 billion to Softbank’s inaugural Vision Fund, and Crown Prince Mohammed said recently he’ll invest a similar amount in the next fund. Through the Vision Fund, which also includes Apple and Qualcomm as investors, Softbank has massive stakes in Uber, WeWork, DoorDash and numerous other highly valued companies.
Marcelo Claure, Softbank’s operating chief, said at a conference on Tuesday that the company is monitoring the situation and isn’t ready to make any decisions at this point.
“Like most companies that have a relationship with Saudi Arabia, we are watching the developments and seeing where this goes,” Claure said. “Right now it is business as usual — we are continuing to run our company, our funds.”