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What might the Biden presidency mean for Apple and other tech giants?

It was nail-biting stuff, but a Biden presidency now looks certain, and commentators have been weighing in on what that might mean for Apple and other tech giants.

One change is 100% guaranteed and is part of the reason for the positive reaction of the market to the news …

The Information says that a Biden presidency will mean stability and predictability after the chaos of four years in which new policies could be announced at any time by tweet, and where U-turns were a constant feature.

For tech industry leaders, the Biden campaign’s early efforts to cultivate them offered hope of a return to more systematic policy formulation, one that is likely to rely on building consensus within the industry. The Trump administration’s policies, in contrast, often appeared to be developed on an ad hoc basis and sometimes seemed designed to hurt companies the president disfavored or benefit those he liked.

Antitrust efforts could, however, be stepped up.

Democratic state attorneys general, who have not joined the Justice Department’s current antitrust case against Google’s web search engine practices and partnership deals, are likely to have more influence in a Biden administration. Biden’s win makes it more likely that they will join the Justice Department’s lawsuit against Google, perhaps adding allegations that Google has illegally used its market power to dominate the digital advertising market, an area they have been investigating. Democratic attorneys general would also likely have more input on potential federal antitrust actions against Amazon, Apple and Facebook.

However, it also looks unlikely that the Democrats will take the Senate, meaning that more radical antitrust proposals are likely to be blocked.

Tech companies like Apple should find it easier to recruit from the best talent available globally.

The “quickest thing to do, and you’ll see Biden do it immediately, is to tear up the Trump immigration policies,” Jim Messina, a former aide to President Barack Obama who now advises tech firms, told The Information’s 411 podcast. “He’ll uncap H-1Bs…and tech will love it,” he added, referring to the program that provides temporary work visas to highly skilled foreign workers

Analysts Wedbush also notes there is likely to be good news for Apple in terms of China-related policies. Biden is likely to dial back the rhetoric and normalize trading relationships between US and Chinese companies, while continuing to press for reform on protection of intellectual property.

[A] major issue remains the US/China Cold Tech war ,which under a Biden White House win would likely take a softer tone going forward in the eyes of the Street and potentially change the course of the decoupling path going on between the two powerhouse countries into 2021 and beyond.

This would be a major bullish sign for the likes of Apple, Cisco, and semi names which are caught in the crossfire on this ongoing US/China battle with 5G front and center.

Fast Company expects tech companies to face a tax hike, however.

Corporate income tax rate dropped from 35% to 21%. The tax bill also relieved U.S. multinationals of the obligation to pay taxes on profits earned in other countries, requiring them to pay taxes only on profits earned at home. Silicon Valley companies might be sad when a new Democratic president reverses some of these policies, like raising the corporate tax rate back up to 28%.

But Fortune voices a cynical note echoed elsewhere: that a Democratic presidency coupled to a Republican senate could mean that not too much changes. That, it suggests, is the main reason for the boost in the market.

With the odds now leaning more toward a Biden win and a divided Congress, with Republicans maintaining control of the Senate, markets appear relieved at the promise of gridlock—an environment that would likely stymie major policy changes […]

Apple shares have soared roughly 6% since Tuesday, while shares of Microsoft and Alphabet jumped around 7% and 6.6% respectively, as of early midday trading Thursday.

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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