If the tech industry was hoping to escape the madness of Donald Trump it was hoping in vain. Tech is deeply entrenched in every sector of society, and of course the ill conceived and nasty "Muslim Ban" executive order Trump issued would hit IT companies as well.

Google found that it had 200 staffers who are affected by the travel ban. Microsoft was quick to come to the support of its 76 employees with visas who might not be able to come to the United States for the next three months, thanks to the legally dubious and vaguely formulated presidential edict.

Even Uber, which continues to make moral and ethical gaffes almost as if by instinct, has had to come out against Trump's executive order.

Uber boss Travis Kalanick sitting on Trump's economic advisory group and the transportation giant being seen as busting a taxi drivers' strike at John F Kennedy airport in New York City kind of deflated that stance. Nevertheless, Uber discovered that it couldn't just keep quiet and hope the bad stuff would go away.

And, there's more to come: tech companies are no doubt poring over the leaked draft of Trump's executive order on cyber security to see how it will affect them.


The draft doesn't seem too bad, bar the lack of international cooperation, but who knows what the final version will contain?

If you look at the statements made by tech company leaders, they have been supportive of those affected by Trump's edicts yet carefully avoided to criticise the president himself, except in the gentlest way.

Perhaps they recognise that it's unwise to poke a stick at a grizzly bear as Trump is unpredictable and appears to make policy on the fly (via Twitter mostly) but it's also a recognition that tech companies are mostly powerless despite their enormous wealth.

That's because the mostly US companies have been unable to work out where they belong and build friendships and support based on that. In theory, they're global companies and some of them have more overseas staffers than American employees.

In practice, any attempt at toning down their American identities and become more international would be fraught with danger for tech companies.

For instance, the big tech industry conferences and events are held in the US mostly. With the confusion around who can travel to America and who can't, and the generally tense atmosphere in the country towards foreigners after Trump's alt-right backed rise to power, there have been calls for the big tech companies to hold their get-togethers in less strife-ridden places - like New Zealand.

Skycity conference centre backers shouldn't get their hopes up here, because it'd be political suicide for tech companies to shift activities like conferences out of the US. The Trump administration would go for the jugular immediately, score populist points and punish any company with cancelled government contracts and boycotts, for being unpatriotic.

It will take something spectacularly awful for tech companies to take a real stand against Trump and his band of extremists rather than wring hands and issue bland statements.


That's the wrong position for a sector that is globally mobile, and doesn't discriminate against people of different religions and ethnicity (as long as they're male at least) to be in. Tech companies need to step up and defend the freedoms that underpin their businesses, or the next three years will be well and truly terrible for them.