After four years of uncertainty, the big tech companies still don’t know what Joe Biden’s presidency will be like. If the new American head of government is surrounding himself with people from the Big Techs, his party thinks they are too “big”.
Biden hired Jessica Hertz, a former Facebook associate advisor, and Cynthia Hogan, a former Apple vice president for government affairs, for her transition team. Silicon Valley is also represented by former Google President Eric Schmidt, a major campaign fund-raiser, and another Sheryl Sandberg, from Facebook, and Marc Benioff, from Salesforce (both supporters of Vice President Kamala Harris, whose brother-in-law and former chief of staff is Uber legal director Tony West).
But since Joe Binden was at the White House, recalls technology consultant for then-government Tim Wu, “there has been a big change. Obama came to power in 2008; nobody knew if Google or Facebook would survive ”.
If, as an industry executive told the Finantial Times, “Biden has a lot of friends in the industry,” Silicon Valley must be prepared to face political challenges, like stricter antitrust legislation, even threats to break up the biggest companies. “Is it going to be a Barack Obama 2.0 period? No way, ”he said.
Another major concern is the direction of the trade war with China. Much of the sector bets that Biden will follow the primer that unites trade, diplomacy and technology.
For Eurasia Group analyst Paul Triolo, “he must hear the argument that, going after Huawei, American companies are hurt because it encourages China to develop its own products.”