Studying the impact of innovation on business and society

CIO from IDG: Why tech companies are uniting to fight Trump’s immigration ban

by Matt Kapko, CIO from IDG

The Trump administration’s immigration ban has galvanized unparalleled opposition from tech leaders. However, many businesses that focus on the enterprise are still standing on the sidelines.

In less than a month since being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump has struck an emotional chord with tech companies, generating an unparalleled unifying force of opposition. The Trump administration’s executive order banning all people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from the entering the United States has created a rift between political and business interests, and one that many technology leaders consider a threat to their very existence.

A group of 127 technology companies last week filed an official friend-of-the-court brief in the lawsuits opposing the administration’s executive order in Minnesota and Washington. Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Snap and Twitter are all on board, but there are some conspicuous absences. Enterprise leaders IBM and Oracle haven’t joined the effort and all of the major telecom and cable providers have held out thus far as well. […]

Legal filing is a potent form of protest against immigration ban

The legal brief, which was initially filed on Super Bowl Sunday and amended with more signatures the following day, is the tech industry’s “protest to banning talent from countries where untapped, highly desired, affordable expertise is blossoming,” says Brian Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter Group. “Mr. Trump’s incredibly ignorant ban on human beings who reside in different parts of the world impacts scale and expansion of innovative companies not just in Silicon Valley, but in every technology hotspot around the United States of America.” […]

“These leading technology companies had no choice but to voice opposition as a matter of future-proofing,” Solis says. “Talent in the U.S. is already thin and that means companies bid against one another for limited resources. The underlying move here is one that’s bigger than work. You have the world’s leading technology companies that are pushing business and society forward, in some cases, faster than some can handle. This very brief symbolizes the great American divide between those competing or trying to compete for the future and those who believe the ship toward innovation is moving too fast and they would like to get off at the next port.” […]

Leaders in Silicon Valley and elsewhere are taking a stand against a president they don’t support and creating the first organized movement to fight him and his controversial ambitions, Solis says. “It’s an unprecedented union of influential companies acting selfishly and progressively at the same time. They stand for humanity, morals and dreams beyond borders. Innovation knows no party lines. It simply hungers for progress, change, and even disruption.” […]

Although tech luminaries rarely come together on hot-button issues, Solis believes there will be many more actions taken at the federal level that will energize Silicon Valley and innovation hubs around the world to “wrestle or downright undermine” Trump and his administration’s policies. “We haven’t seen the last of egregious acts against humanity and the Constitution,” he says.

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