A number of major US technology companies suffered a drastic decline in its stocks following the presidential election of Donald Trump – and are now quite fearful for the future under his administration. During the election campaign close to 150 tech leaders including founders of worldwide brands such as Apple, Reddit and Wikipedia penned an open letter in July - in which it warned that his nomination would be a ‘disaster for innovation.’
However, the controversial Republican candidate and New York based billionaire secured the nomination on November 8th and will now subsequently become the 45th President of the United States. His success has left the technology sector pondering its future under Trump – and already stocks have taken a huge decline since his nomination.
Trumps pre-election rhetoric sent shivers through Silicon Valley as he announced that he intended to squeeze trade on China, clamp down on immigration which is critical to many tech firms - and he also issued a warning to online giants Amazon suggesting they could have ‘a huge antitrust problem’ if he were to be successful in his candidacy.
Gene Munster, an analyst on the technology sector at US investment bank and asset management company Piper Jaffray has moved to dispel some of the fears surrounding immigration and Amazon.
Munster said: “The tech sector is in more control of its own destiny than Donald Trump and will work through these problems.”
“I think the ‘antitrust’ probe of Amazon is unlikely, and I don’t think there will be major change on skilled immigration under Trump, and there could be an increase on tariffs for electronics components and that could potentially impact companies such as Apple, but it would be equally spread over manufacturers because they all rely on imports.”
However, many tech companies could boost significantly from Trump’s pledge to lower taxes on capital repatriated from overseas, which could well benefit companies such as Apple and Google. The tech sector holds the lion’s share of an estimated $2.5 trillion (Dh9.18 trillion) held by US firms overseas.
Bob O’Donnell, a consultant at Tech-analysis Research in Silicon Valley believes there could be a lot of money repatriated by tech companies. O’Donnell said: “Tech firms could use the repatriated money for job creation, and that would be very interesting - the tech sector may get a fresh look at the kinds of services and technologies that people want to invest in under Trump.”
“For example, a major push on infrastructure investment could be a big opportunity to integrate ‘smart’ technology for services such as transportation.”
While Trump has said very little in relation to the tech sector thus far, analysts and consultants have noted that the tech industry is such a huge part of the economy that you simply can’t ignore it. However, it has also been noted and taken into account that things that were viewed as special privileges may be taken away.
Some within the tech sector are gravely concerned that a Republican administration may seek to roll back so-called ‘net neutrality’ which ultimately prohibits broadband firms from playing favorites – which could spell trouble for online video operators like Netflix and Amazon.
Many tech leaders have simply had to put the disappointment of Trump’s election result behind them and move forward. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO, Tim Cook sent a memo to staff in which he said that the only way to move forward is to do so together. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg brushed off the election result by stating that it would not be right to say the election of Donald Trump changes the fundamental arc of technology over time.