Apple’s Concern Over Masimo CEO’s Friendship with Biden Sparks Interest

President Biden saves Apple from import ban

President Joe Biden has intervened to stop Apple from being forced to remove certain models of its Apple Watch from sale in the US. The International Trade Commission had previously issued an exclusion order against the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, due to a patent dispute with medical device company Masimo.

However, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has granted a temporary reprieve, pausing the exclusion order until January 10th. Apple will then hear from the US Customs Department on January 12th about potential software changes to the affected Apple Watch models.

Notably, Masimo founder and CEO Joe Kiani is a close friend of President Biden, with records showing significant donations to the Democratic party and the Biden Foundation. Kiani was also appointed to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in 2021.

Despite concerns about potential conflicts of interest, a Masimo spokesman denied that Kiani had lobbied the president or the US Trade Representative to push for the import ban. The spokesman also accused Apple CEO Tim Cook of lobbying on behalf of the tech giant.

As a result of the temporary reprieve, Apple has resumed selling the affected Apple Watch models in its online store and select physical locations in the US. Customers have until January 9th to make their purchase, but the long-term fate of the devices in the US market still remains uncertain.

The development is a win for Apple and a setback for Masimo, as the legal battle continues to play out in the courts, with potential implications for third-party retailers like Target, Walmart, and Best Buy.