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Why tech companies are uniting to fight Trump’s immigration ban

Matt Kapko | Feb. 15, 2017
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.

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.”

Why enterprise companies are holding out

The holdouts among giants in the enterprise like IBM and Oracle also highlight the different pressures facing technology companies that largely serve businesses instead of consumers, according to Jan Dawson, chief analyst and founder of tech research firm Jackdaw. “their customers are big, often relatively conservative businesses themselves, rather than being individual consumers with strong views and opinions on subjects like immigration,” he says. “The big traditional enterprise companies also often don’t have the same corporate culture of fostering quirkiness, a sense of rebelliousness and disruption.” Dawson notes that smaller companies like Box are taking stand and have come out strongly against the immigration ban.

“It’s also worth noting that the perceived risks may be higher for these companies – the loss of any single consumer over a stance on immigration isn’t going to hurt any company, but the loss of business from a Fortune 50 client would be a serious blow to any big enterprise provider,” he says. “Very few people are paying attention to how the big enterprise companies are responding to all this, and so the price to be paid for remaining silent or commenting in very narrow ways relating to business rather than in moral terms is minimal, while the downside of speaking out forcefully is probably more significant.”

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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