A lot of what we used to call ink has been spilled in the 10 long days since Donald Trump was elected president regarding what impact his administration will have on Silicon Valley. Indeed, shares in some of the best companies in tech have declined, pegged to a variety of conflicting fears. Skilled workers will be scarcer, given Trump’s anti-immigration stance. A trade war would sink export-heavy, highly outsourced device makers. Trump and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos don’t like each other, and the former has a penchant for litigating against his enemies. The list goes on.
Discerning specifically how a Trump administration will affect tech companies is harder than it looks. This delectable article from The Wall Street Journal illustrates how unclear Trump’s position has been on H-1B visas for high-skilled workers, for instance. Sometimes his campaign vowed to eliminate them; sometimes it ignored the issue altogether. (A nugget: fashion models can qualify for H-1Bs: Melania Trump once did.)
Gene Munster, a level-headed analyst with Piper Jaffray, surveyed the landscape and concluded optimistically that “best-in-class” technology stocks are attractive as a result of their post-election sell off. Munster’s felicitous five are Alphabet, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix. Before markets opened Thursday, each had lost between 3% and 7% of their values. (All five were up or down a bit more or less than 1% Thursday.) Except for Amazon, each is priced at a reasonable valuation, relative to their earnings. Apple, as has been the case for years, is downright cheap.
Munster believes investors are reacting to “snippets” in the news rather than actual policy. He notes that Trump’s plan for his first 100 days omits any mention of technology. “We believe the tech industry is in more control of its own destiny than Donald Trump,” Munster writes. That feels like a hopeful way to end the week.
Mindful of just how much we have to be thankful for, Happy Thanksgiving.
BITS AND BYTES
Elon Musk gets the green light. Shareholders of Tesla and SolarCity “overwhelmingly” approved a $2 billion stock-swap merger between the electric vehicle maker and the residential solar installer. The two are already working on joint technologies, including a new solar roof made out of shingles that could be priced less than traditional materials. (Reuters, Fortune, New York Times)
Salesforce predicts it will top $10 billion in next fiscal year. The cloud business software company beat revenue expectations for its third quarter ended Oct. 31, but its net loss for the three-month period widened. Salesforce expects to deliver $8.4 billion in revenue for the current fiscal year ending Jan. 31, and projects it will become the first pureplay cloud company to cross $10 billion in the next one. (Wall Street Journal, Reuters)
Apple mulls making iPhones in the U.S. Back in June, the tech giant asked two of its big production partners, Foxconn and Pegatron, to explore American factories, reports Nikkei. The report suggests that Foxconn is still weighing its options, but Pegatron isn’t interested. President-elect Donald Trump criticized Apple’s heavy dependence on Chinese production during his campaign. (Fortune)
Microsoft will tie executive bonuses to diversity goals. The software giant isn’t pleased with its progress on hiring more women and minorities—its ratios actually slipped in the past year—so it’s building requirements into the compensation plans for its managers. (Bloomberg)
Baidu’s CEO says China welcomes foreign tech workers. The leader of the country’s biggest Internet search engine, Robin Li, believes China’s tech firms could benefit from Trump’s anti-immigration stance. Many Silicon Valley companies worry the new administration will crack down on H1-B visas, which many use to recruit engineers. “I hope that talent in all countries can come to China, and give us a more important role on the stage of global innovation,” Li said Friday. (Fortune)
Watch out Netflix, Amazon’s video service is about to go global. The company’s service, currently available in the U.S, U.K., Germany, Austria, and Japan, should be available in more than 200 countries by the end of December. (Wall Street Journal)
Walmart thinks the blockchain could help with food safety. In October, the massive retailer began using the technology to track certain produce items in the United States and to keep tabs on pork in China. Blockchain could help alert Walmart about less-than-ideal conditions, such as excess heat in trucks or trains, and help the retailer more easily pinpoint the source of problems when they occur. (Bloomberg)
Intel makes full court press on artificial intelligence. At a media event Thursday in San Francisco, Intel CEO Bryan Krzanich made the case for why he believes his company’s chip technologies and products are best suited to power the various forms of trendy, cutting-edge data crunching techniques popularized in recent years by companies like Google, Facebook, IBM, and others.
Intel is betting that more companies beyond just these technology giants will incorporate advanced data analytics into their business—and will need to buy the chips to power the tasks.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Apple’s iPhone 7 Isn’t Attracting Many Android Users, by Don Reisinger
The Small Way Twitter Is Copying Snapchat, by Michal Addady
Why Stamping Out Fake News Is a Lot Harder Than You Think, by Mathew Ingram
What Snap’s Evan Spiegel Can Learn From Twitter About Diversity, by Valentina Zarya
Google Names Former Microsoft Exec to Help Cloud Unit, by Barb Darrow
Verizon Gets Federal Okay for Key Piece of 5G Strategy, by Aaron Pressman
ONE MORE THING
Safra Catz could get a cabinet post. President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday met with the Israel-born Oracle co-CEO. Details were sketchy, but speculation is that her extensive experience in finance could qualify her to become treasury secretary. (Fortune)
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
AWS re:Invent: Amazon’s cloud conference. (Nov. 28-Dec. 2; Las Vegas)
Elevate NYC: A cloud innovation forum . (Dec. 6; New York)
Consumer Electronics Show: An annual conference and exhibition dedicate to the business of consumer technology. (Jan. 5-8, 2017; Las Vegas)
IBM Connect 2017: Redefine work with Watson. (Feb. 20-23; San Francisco)
CIO Leadership Forum (West): Strategy in the age of digital disruption. (Feb. 26-28; Phoenix)
Microsoft Envision: Drive digital transformation. (Feb. 28-March 2; Los Angeles)
Google Cloud Next: Products and perspectives for developers and customers. (March 7-10, 2017; San Francisco)
CIO Leadership Forum (East): Strategy in the age of digital disruption. (March 19-21; Hollywood, Fla.)
IBM Interconnect: Tap into advanced cloud technology. (March 19-23; Las Vegas)