Donald Trump’s recent election as president has launched a great deal of speculation about how the businessman’s policies will affect a multitude of industries. For the tech sector, a Trump presidency could have a multitude of benefits and/or consequences. It just depends on who you ask.
The tech sector has a multitude of different industries, and not all of them will be reacting to Trump’s policies in the same way. One industry expected to benefit, at least partially, is the telecom industry. Trump champions policies which oppose net neutrality. If anti-net neutrality policies are able to go through, then telecom giants such as AT&T and Verizon will benefit greatly, as they are much less likely to face government scrutiny over the kind of service they are offering to users. However, it would serve to disadvantage the much less known and prosperous Internet and phone service providers. This even includes nationally-known companies such as T-Mobile and Sprint. While big, they do not have the same power as AT&T and Verizon. An uneven playing field in the telecom world is just one way Trump could affect the tech sector.
Some of the things Trump said on the campaign trail has raised a good deal of concern to those in the tech sector. After a shooting in San Bernardino earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook refused an FBI request to unlock the iPhone owned by the perpetrator, citing threats to security. In response, Trump called for a boycott of Apple products. While it might be difficult to prove what sort of impact Trump’s words as a campaigner had on Apple’s sales, he could encourage and sign legislation that does not give Apple or any other company the right to resist FBI to look into the sensitive information of personal devices, even without justification. There could be concerns of the Trump administration being aggressive about cybersecurity in ways that could back compromise a great deal of online services, from banking to online loans.
Trump’s fiery rhetoric about immigration has become one of his signature traits. So how could that possibly relate to the tech sector? Well, the tech sector might produce all sorts of gadgets and machinery, but there are still human hands working on creating those devices, and many of them are immigrants. The tech industry is one of the biggest in the country, and a good deal of the workforce is made up of immigrants. The math is simple: Trump wants to deport 2-3 million immigrants by next year, and while not all, or even half, of those people will be involved in the tech sector, there will definitely be a few who are. There is some “cause and effect” to keep in mind:
- Trump is promising deportation
- That could result in a loss of substantial workforce in the tech sector
- That could result in a substantial hit to the US economy
The trade policies of Trump could affect the tech sector financially as well. Trump fiercely opposes the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and if he were to get rid of that, trade internationally could be greatly affected, causing a great hit to the tech sector and the United States economy as a whole. There is some talk of Trump’s policies resulting in a “trade war” with China and other countries.
A few aspects of Trump’s policies could have a positive impact on some people in the tech sector. Trump does call for lower corporate taxes and his policies are believed to have possible positive impact on businesses in areas such as Indiana. Additionally, Trump’s Vice President, Mike Pence proposed a $1 billion innovation plan as governor of Indiana.
A wait and see attitude might be the wisest way to view Trump’s impending presidency, at least in regards to the tech sector. Quite a few could benefit from his policies, while quite a few could be at a disadvantage. It just remains to be seen.