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Execs from Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Apple, Prepare for Tech Summit with Trump

In a room full of billionaires at Trump Tower, one of these things will not be like the other.
Image: Businessman Bill Gates arrives at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City
Businessman Bill Gates arrives at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., December 13, 2016.ANDREW KELLY / Reuters

The tech titans converging on Trump Tower on Wednesday to meet with Donald Trump certainly have one thing in common with the president-elect: nine zeroes in their net worth.

Beyond that, it will be up to the thee-comma club to find common ground at an event they are likely secretly dreading, according to Silicon Valley insiders.

"I think in theory, they have an option to say no," said Bradley Tusk, CEO of Tusk Ventures, a political strategy firm that works with tech companies. "But in reality, whether they like the result or not, he is the incoming President of the United States and it's a country where they all have a headquarters."

Related: Will Trump and Tech Be the 'Disaster' Some People Have Predicted?

Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Alphabet CEO Larry Page are among the tech royalty who are expected to have a seat at the table for the off-the-record meeting.

Bill Gates, who Trump famously said he'd call on for help in "closing that internet up" as a way to fight terror, was photographed today in an elevator at Trump Tower. It was unclear whether Gates would also attend Wednesday's round table.

Trump and the tech community have never seen eye to eye on issues ranging from privacy, visas for highly skilled foreign workers, and outsourcing of manufacturing.

It's a divide that's even reflected in campaign donations. For every $60 Hillary Clinton received from tech employees, Trump got $1. And that's not to mention the more than 100 tech leaders who signed an open letter over the summer warning Trump would be a "disaster" for innovation.

What's on the Table

Trump held a similar meeting with top network journalists a few weeks ago. Although it was off the record, various reports described it as a verbal thrashing of the media.

The president-elect hasn't exactly gelled with the tech community, either. However, Tusk said he expects Trump to tone it down a bit for Wednesday's meeting.

"I think you’ll see some of that [bashing]," he said. "However, I don’t think he takes the tech stuff as personally as he took the media stuff. He’s so focused on what people say and tweet."

Little is known about the guest list — and there have been changing reports as to who was or was not invited and whether they'll attend. Other names floating as possibilities include Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, though their attendance likely won't be confirmed until they're seen setting foot in Trump Tower.

Twitter Time Out?

Interestingly enough, chances appear slim that Trump will come face to face with Jack Dorsey, the CEO of the president-elect's favorite platform, Twitter.

Twitter, one of the companies NBC News contacted, did not immediately respond to an inquiry as to whether Dorsey will be attending. However, Dorsey may have been snubbed by Trump, according to Recode, which cited sources claiming the Twitter creator didn't even get an invite.

In the meeting,"everyone is going to put out their opening position. Everything Trump does is a stake in a negotiation, one way or another," Tusk said.

"My guess is he [Trump] will get off his chest whatever he wants to get off his chest and he probably has specific agenda items for each company."

That means Cook may get an earful, if any of Trump's past statements about Apple are an indication of what's to come.

Baked Apple?

Trump has previously gone after Apple on everything from moving more manufacturing to the United States to calling for a boycott during the company's battle with the FBI over a locked iPhone.

While Apple gets the bulk of the attention, "the chip manufacturers can get the same kind of pressure Apple will get, but I think the public can identify more with an iPhone than a chip," Tusk said.

Bezos, the Amazon billionaire who also owns the Washington Post, took plenty of heat from Trump during the election over the newspaper's coverage of his campaign. In turn, he offered to send Trump to space.

After the election, Bezos tried to bury the hatchet with a gracious tweet wishing Trump success.

But don't expect the media-conscious Trump to fully take it to heart if he's in the same room as Bezos.

"I don’t think Trump differentiates between Amazon, Bezos, and the Washington Post," Tusk said.