During the campaign and even after the election, some of the most vocal opponents of Trump came from the tech industry. They were really worried that Trump’s policies about keeping jobs in the U.S. would cripple their industry by cutting access to workers overseas. When Trump’s immigration ban went through, Tech companies revolted, insisting that immigrants were essential to their companies. This fact holds up. Multiple top level leaders in tech are immigrants including one of the founders of Google, and a lot of these companies rely on hiring the best talent in the world, which is dependent on them getting work visas.
The tech industry is also particularly concerned about Trump’s views on antitrust laws. Antitrust laws are what prevent tech giants from merging and creating a monopoly in their corner of the tech industry. Antitrust laws are what shut down Microsoft from their attempt to take over the entire computer industry in the early 2000’s.
Antitrust laws are also a very important way for companies to protect intellectual property. With so much similar research and development being done in the tech world, protecting trade secrets is vital and strong antitrust laws that keep companies from merging to completely take over a market are essential. Trump hasn’t really shown his colors on antitrust laws yet, but given his trouble with conflicts of interest, it wouldn’t be crazy to assume that he’s not a fan of strong antitrust laws.
The Trump administration has already taken multiple actions that make the tech industry nervous, but in spite of all this, the tech industry is actually thriving in Trump’s America. Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Netflix all reported significant gains in stock values and/or earnings for the last quarter. In the wake of the election, stocks for major tech companies dropped, likely due to investors fears that Trump’s administration would negatively impact the companies. But 100 days after the election, it seems that fears have calmed down and things are even getting better than the status quo.
In 2016, the number of people working in the tech industry rose by two percent. Jobs available in the tech sector are also increasing, so quickly in fact, that there are hundreds of thousands of unfilled jobs in tech. The unemployment rate in the tech industry is about half of the average rate of unemployment for all industries. Economists predict the tech industry will continue to be a big job creator in 2017, even in spite for Trump.
Why has the tech industry continued to thrive, even under Trump? One of the major reasons for this is likely that demand for tech products hasn’t changed. People want iPhones, check Facebook, and binge Netflix no matter who is President. Another reason is that new technologies are creating jobs that didn’t exist before and we need new people to take those jobs. The policies of the Trump administration aren’t likely to do anything to severely impact the creation of new technologies.
Will tech companies continue to thrive for the next four years under the Trump administration? Tech companies could win big if Trump’s new tax reform goes through. The plan proposes cutting the corporate tax rate to 15 percent from 35 percent, which would mean tech companies could keep more money and put it back in to research and development.
They would also benefit greatly if Trump’s plans for industry specific deregulation go in to effect. Trump has been pretty vocal about how he believes regulation strangles businesses, and has repeatedly said that he would deregulate certain industries, including tech.
Trump has also talked about changing the way stock options get priced and sold, which could create a lot of money for tech companies who choose to restructure the way they offer stock options, especially to employees.
However, the tech industry isn’t completely Trump-proof. Questions still loom about how Trump will choose to attack net neutrality. The recently signed bill that allows Internet Service Providers to sell web browsing history to advertisers doesn’t bode well for Trump’s plans for the future of the Internet. Trump has also signed legislation that impacts the work visas that tech companies use to hire highly skilled workers from other countries.
There’s still a lot up in the air for the tech giants in the Trump world, but for now, it seems like they’re doing just fine.