Today’s great technology behemoths mostly came of age during the Obama Administration. Tech friendly, young, and liberal - like much of Silicon Valley - the Obama administration saw rising and exciting tech companies like Google and Facebook as beacons for inclusion, equitable profits, and creating a better world.
Now, in the Age of Trump, the great tech companies have grown up. Facebook is no-longer the scrappy startup that turned down a $1bn acquisition offer from Yahoo, as it was in 2007 when Obama announced his candidacy. Google is no-longer just dominating mobile search, and Amazon accounts for - by some metrics - 1/3 of all e-retail in America. Half of the country’s most valuable Fortune 100 companies are in tech: the rising millennials have become more like grizzled veteran baby boomers.
They also face radical new challenges - and new opportunities. The Trump administration is the most anti-regulation in a decade, and seeks to dramatically lower corporate taxes. Given their size today, that may matter more to giants like Amazon and Facebook than politics. Yet, despite tech’s domination of the Fortune 100 list and its exceptional profits, the administration doesn’t look benevolently upon tech companies like the Obama administration did; indeed, many Trump functionaries are far more interested in Amazon’s plans for building warehouses in the Midwest than for the new headquarters it will shortly start building in one of America’s hub cities.
Facebook, Twitter, and Google - in particular - are also facing unwelcome attention for their inability - or lack of desire to - counter Russian and bot attempts to influence 2016 voters. 10 years ago, when Obama took office, technology companies were seen as almost utopian; their products part of a vision for our collective better future and seemingly exempted from normal attacks on corporate greed. That is the case no-longer, as politicians and others openly question whether they failed to confront the bots that have taken control of tens of millions of pages because it would be a bad story, and negatively impact profits.
Tech has grown up, and everyone knows it. In this new age, how will it fare?