As we head out of Obamaville and into the Trump 100 days soon, what is the future of the technology industry? Knowing Trump it could go either way but here is what I know. Please note that I’m more than willing to give Trump time to prove himself, but the signs and things he has said have not been promising.
During the Obama years, Silicon Valley has been an economic and social engine for the digital community. Smartphones and social networks have become as necessity to many and are as important to world business as oil is to the automobile. The big four (Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google) have become some of the most prosperous and valuable companies on the planet and have given the USA new hope for generating $$ in the USA.
Obama, has undeniably been a active supporter of these digital tools and his administration deferred to the tech industry for advice and consultation. Baring the recent Apple iPhone privacy debate, the tech industry and big government have worked well together. So how will Mr. Trump carry the baton?. “Mr. Trump had few kind words for tech giants during the campaign.”
He promised to “initiate antitrust actions against Amazon, repeatedly vowed to force Apple to make its products in the United States, and then called for a boycott of the company when it challenged the government’s order to unlock a terrorist’s iPhone.” And his immigration plans are dislike by about every company in tech.
Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft have not commented about Trump’s win, or how the new administration’s stated policy goals would affect their businesses, but it seems clear that a shift is in the wind. For instance, last year, Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, wrote a rebuke to Trump’s plan to ban Muslims from immigrating to the United States. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder and chief executive, told an audience of developers in April that “instead of building walls, we can help people build bridges.”
Behind closed doors, during the campaign, many tech leaders were positive that their vision would prevail over Trump’s. But when asked about whether they were preparing a strategy to deal with a Trump victory, they did not have an answer. They like many other thought it would never happen.
Among the tech community, there is concern that social media giants, Facebook and Twitter, have helped advance the decline of good and accurate news media. Social media seems to have contributed into the rise of trolling, racism and misogyny that seemed to follow so much of Trump’s campaign.
At the end of the day, I have to imagine that a “mover and shaker” like Trump would want these businesses to succeed and prosper in America. It seems that Trumps business side would rise and squash his inner negativity. Nobody really knows his internet privacy, security positions or technology plans. He barely touched on the issues during the campaign. Privacy and cyber-security aren’t mentioned at all on his website’s positions pages. Everyone buckle up for the ride.