The new US president is an unpredictable person. The impact of Donald Trump’s policy on the IT economy can only be guessed at the moment.
Anyone who had thought that 70-year-old New York contractor and TV supporter Donald Trump would turn into a more conciliatory politician overnight with the election to the US president has been better informed in the past few weeks. To do this, it is enough to look at his partly chaotic press conference in the New York or to read his long interviews with many newspapers. His confused and self-contradictory expressions made observers wonder what Trump really intended and would actually do in the days during his presidency. Forecasts are also hard to make for the IT industry.
Trump apparently argues without knowledge of the economic facts and connections. He said that he loves Mexico, its president and its people. However, he clearly showed that he is not happy with BMW, having “a factory in the Mexica and then, selling cars to the US without a 35 percent tax. The thing is that, it seems like Trump does not know that BMW produces more than 400,000 models annually in the US, but only 365,000 cars are imported. The plant in the Spartanburg exported more cars in 2014 than any other US factory such as GM, Ford or Fiat Chrysler.
Trump wants “great deals” instead of politics
Why should BMW be punished with high import duties if it is to build its 3-series instead of South Africa then in Mexico? It is not even that the company wants to relocate its production from the USA. Trumps threats are therefore basically meaningless and without foundation.
All of this seems to be completely unimportant to the new US president, as long as he can give the impression that he is concerned about jobs in the United States and that globalization and structural change will no longer bring such disadvantages to his electorate. He wants to negotiate “great deals”. In order to boost the economy, he promises lower corporate taxes and a reduction of regulation. At the same time, he wants to make foreigners’ access to the US labor market more difficult.
Is there a complacency economy?
His plans are therefore likely to have an impact on the United States IT industry. For example, Trump urges Apple CEO Tim Cook to have iPhones built in the US. Recently, Trump claimed in an interview that Cook had “an open eye” and will probably do “something big” for his country. Why, however, should the liberal Silicon Valley change its business policy to do a favor for a reactionary politician? However, observers fear that the US might develop into a courtesy economy.
It seems unlikely that Apple and other corporations such as Facebook or Google will agree with the new US president on the subject of surveillance any pleasure. This is because the credibility of the companies is at stake. Trump has criticized Apple for over a year ago as the US federal agency FBI was not given access to the cell phone of an assassin. He even called for a boycott for Apple
Conflicts with Silicon Valley
Apple, however, remained firm. In order to force the use of encryption programs, Trump would have to adopt appropriate laws. This could prove to be a very bad deal for the US, as official or unofficial backdoors in IT products do not really promote sales.
The major network operators are most likely to benefit from the promised deregulation. Civil society organizations such as the EFF ( Electronic Frontier Foundation ) are already afraid that the rules on grid neutrality adopted in 2015 could be relaxed again. If, on the other hand, Trump no longer wants “the United States to be hacked by anyone”, he would probably have to increase the requirements for the IT security of products.
Does Trump defend truck drivers from autonomous vehicles?
Trump is also unlikely to be able to deal with the privacy concerns of the Europeans. In his opinion, it is certainly not a good deal for the US if the large IT corporations move their data centers to Europe, in order to protect the data from access by the US authorities, for example. Microsoft has not reasonably protected its servers in Ireland from accessing US investigators. The IT companies do not want Trump to break the booming cloud business in the Europe.
The developments in the autonomous driving are also likely to be quite unproblematic for the new US administration. Will Trump stand idly when millions of professional drivers are replaced by autonomous trucks, taxis and delivery drones? Especially if these trucks and cars are not manufactured in the USA? Such a structural change can not be compensated by the fact that a few new factories are built in the country. While other countries are faced with such challenges, Trump has explicitly led an election campaign for such voters, who feel dependent on the economic consequences of globalization and digitization.
Developers fight against Muslim registration
The biggest threat to the Silicon Valley is likely to be the case when Trump actually sets the hurdles for foreign workers in the US much higher. This is not affected by the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico. The Silicon Valley benefits from the fact that many talented students, academics, and programmers from Asia and Europe are heading there. Already nearly 3,000 developers and other IT staff from the Valley have turned against the plans for a registration of Muslims. Maybe Trumps IT consultant Peter Thiel with his company Palantir accepts this very questionable job. It would surely be a bad deal for the US when many good programmers have now moved to Europe or Asia.
Judging by the logic that he had not revealed his true intentions so far, he could be thrown back in a few weeks’ hardship and retreat from the White House to the Trump Tower.