Why Big Tech may be hoping for a Joe Biden presidency

| |

Massive Tech — like different giant US firms — benefited from company tax cuts carried out below President Donald Trump. In lots of circumstances, the smaller tax funds helped enhance their income. Nevertheless, not all of Trump’s insurance policies and actions throughout his first time period have performed nicely with Massive Tech.

These points have not stopped Massive Tech’s fast progress over the previous 4 years — Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT), Google (GOOGL), Fb (FB), Tesla (TSLA) and Netflix (NFLX) collectively at the moment are collectively price practically $8 trillion, up from $2.4 trillion the day after the 2016 election. Nonetheless, tech leaders could also be anticipating a change.

“I feel we now have to separate the efficiency of the shares from the challenges for the businesses,” mentioned DA Davidson analyst Tom Forte.

One other shift below Trump that might threaten Massive Tech’s success: America’s altering “standing on the planet,” mentioned Mark Lemley, a professor at Stanford Legislation Faculty and director of the Stanford Program in Legislation, Science and Know-how.

“Silicon Valley succeeds as a result of all people needs to come back right here, the perfect and brightest folks world wide come right here to go to highschool, they arrive right here to work at firms, they keep, they discovered their very own firms,” Lemley mentioned. “Even other than the challenges to immigration … there is a fear that America and SIlicon Valley may not maintain that place on the planet’s esteem sooner or later.”

A lot of that might change if Joe Biden in the end wins the election.

Even on points with bipartisan assist, equivalent to reforming Part 230 of the Communications Decency Act, consultants anticipate a Biden administration would take a distinct strategy from the Trump White Home. Trade insiders have additionally lauded the number of Senator Kamala Harris as Biden’s working mate, given her expertise engaged on know-how points.
Workers at Massive Tech firms seem to largely assist Biden — a CNN assessment of marketing campaign reviews in September confirmed that staff at Amazon, Google, Fb and Apple donated 3 times extra to Biden’s marketing campaign in July than to Trump’s. Past tech, many American company leaders have mentioned they favor Biden, whose actions some suppose might be extra predictable than Trump’s, regardless of dangers of upper company taxes and elevated rules.

Listed below are a couple of of the important thing points for Silicon Valley, and the place consultants anticipate Biden would stand.


Silicon Valley condemned Trump’s restrictions on visa packages that tech firms depend on to usher in expert international staff.
Biden has pledged to take a extra open stance on immigration. Amongst his associated coverage proposals, Biden plans to exempt from any immigration cap “current graduates of PhD packages in STEM fields within the US who’re poised to make a number of the most vital contributions to the world economic system,” in line with his web site.
What Kamala Harris as VP would mean for Silicon Valley

“Traditionally, a extra immigrant-friendly coverage is helpful for large tech, to the extent that it will increase their expertise pool for engineers,” Forte mentioned.

The CEOs of a few of Silicon Valley’s largest firms — together with Google, Microsoft and Tesla — are immigrants.


The Trump administration has taken an aggressive strategy to many points associated to China and know-how, together with Chinese language telecom big Huawei, the US operations of Chinese language tech companies equivalent to TikTok and the export of US semiconductor manufacturing gear to some Chinese language companies.
The White Home additionally carried out tariffs on US items made in China, and Trump has mentioned he needs tech firms to convey manufacturing and manufacturing to the US. The tariffs pressured firms to rethink manufacturing in China and threatened to lift costs for customers, however they did not result in a widespread resurgence of US tech manufacturing jobs.

Many Wall Road analysts anticipate a Biden administration would take a barely softer stance on China tech and coverage points, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives mentioned in a notice to traders earlier this week.

That would assist cut back the danger to American tech firms of shedding prospects in the important thing Chinese language market. Apple, for instance, depends on China for round 15% of its gross sales. And semiconductor firms equivalent to Intel (INTC) and AMD (AMD) have additionally lengthy counted on gross sales within the nation. Biden’s “Made in America” plan does embrace investments in US manufacturing in addition to know-how analysis and growth.

Nonetheless, lawmakers on each side of the aisle have considerations about what China’s continued technological growth will imply for US nationwide safety, one thing the following President should handle no matter who’s elected.

Part 230 and Antitrust

Two of essentially the most outstanding points for Massive Tech — antitrust stress and Part 230 — are extra sophisticated. As a result of at the very least some bipartisan settlement exists that these points have to be addressed, it is unclear whether or not Silicon Valley would profit from a Biden presidency.
Biden, like Trump, has known as for repealing Part 230, the regulation that protects tech firms’ potential to reasonable content material as they see match, with out being held responsible for, say, customers posting hate speech.

However Democrats and Republicans have differing causes for opposing the regulation. Democrats need to maintain tech companies liable for eradicating hate speech and misinformation from their platforms; Republicans declare that by eradicating or moderating any content material, tech firms have interaction in bias or censorship.

CEOs of Google, Twitter and Facebook grilled in Senate hearing

If, below Biden, Democrats launched new rules to interchange Part 230, tech firms would possible welcome that greater than a plan that merely removes the legal responsibility safety Part 230 supplies, Lemley mentioned. Eliminating the legal responsibility, which is extra in step with Republican critiques, might set tech companies up for an onslaught of authorized battles over content material choices.

Specialists say antitrust stress on the most important tech companies is more likely to proceed no matter who’s within the White Home subsequent 12 months.

Democratic lawmakers have in recent times supported broad antitrust enforcement of Massive Tech. A Biden administration might additionally extra tightly regulate merger and acquisition exercise by Silicon Valley giants.

That might be excellent news for the bigger tech ecosystem, although.

“We would get extra competitors and extra innovation in Silicon Valley in a world the place we had extra antitrust enforcement,” Lemley mentioned.

Investments and regulation

Whereas these points are by far the most important flashpoints for Massive Tech, Biden has laid out coverage proposals in various different areas that are related to the trade.

Just a few examples: It’s extensively anticipated {that a} Biden administration would restore internet neutrality, which consultants say could be good for the tech ecosystem. His plans to put money into greater schooling and make it extra extensively accessible might additionally profit Massive Tech, which depends on a extremely expert workforce.
Biden additionally dedicated to investing $20 billion to construct broadband infrastructure for communities that at the moment lack it — a serious endeavor that might assist bridge the digital divide highlighted by the pandemic. And Biden has proposed reforming the FCC’s Lifeline program, which helps low-income customers afford broadband.

“I feel that will be internet useful to all of the Massive Tech firms, to the extent that extra customers had a excessive pace web connection,” rising their potential buyer base, Forte mentioned.


Ant Group: China yanks IPO to show Jack Ma who’s really in charge

Prop 22 passes in California, exempting Uber and Lyft from classifying drivers as employees


Leave a Comment