American president-elect Donald Trump once famously tweeted about using both Samsung and Apple phones.
I use both iPhone & Samsung. If Apple doesn't give info to authorities on the terrorists I'll only be using Samsung until they give info.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 19, 2016
The tweet was almost a warning to Silicon Valley. And, now that Trump is going to be the next president, the whole of the IT industry is very cautious, including the Indian IT sector.
Apple is one company that has faced Trump's ire many times. After Trump won the election, CEO Tim Cook sent a letter to the team in which he talked about diversity, quoting Martin Luther King Jr.
I've heard from many of you today about the presidential election. In a political contest where the candidates were so different and each received a similar number of popular votes, it's inevitable that the aftermath leaves many of you with strong feelings.
We have a very diverse team of employees, including supporters of each of the candidates. Regardless of which candidate each of us supported as individuals, the only way to move forward is to move forward together. I recall something Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said 50 years ago: "If you can't fly, then run. If you can't run, then walk. If you can't walk, then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward." This advice is timeless, and a reminder that we only do great work and improve the world by moving forward.
On the other hand, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's message was focused on securing the future for the next generation by tackling disease, improving education, connecting everyone and promoting equal opportunity.
As it happens, Peter Theil who is on the Facebook board has been a staunch Trump supporter and has even funded his campaign. He is even rumored to be chairing Trump's transition committee. Meanwhile, reports suggest that Facebook news feed played a part in Trump's win even though Zuckerberg is downplaying it.
Google's Indian-born CEO Sundar Pichai wrote a robust post that emphasized the role of immigrants in the US and exhorted support for the Muslim community. It also appealed to the people to not be dictated by fear. One part of the post said:
My experience is obviously not unique. It's been said a million times that America is the "land of opportunity" — for millions of immigrants, it's not an abstract notion, but a concrete description of what we find here. America provided access to opportunities that simply didn't exist for many of us before we arrived.
And it's not just about opportunity. The open-mindedness, tolerance, and acceptance of new Americans is one of the country's greatest strengths and most defining characteristics. And that is no coincidence — America, after all, was and is a country of immigrants.
Let's not let fear defeat our values. We must support Muslim and other minority communities in the US and around the world.
Another Indian-born CEO, Microsoft's Satya Nadella, said,"Yesterday we witnessed the democratic process in action here in the US. The results are of importance around the world, and I know that interest is shared among Microsoft employees. We congratulate the president-elect, and look forward to working with all those elected yesterday. Our commitment to our mission and values are steadfast, and in particular fostering a diverse and inclusive culture. With that in mind and looking to the future."
Some of the other Silicon Valley figures did not hold back, though.
I am not moving to Canada, not surprised by white supremacists & misogynists, and not afraid of Donald Trump. We have got to get to work.— Anil Dash (@anildash) November 9, 2016
Congratulations to @realDonaldTrump. I for one give him my most open mind and wish him great success in his service to the country.— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) November 10, 2016
We are one country, and we have one goal: provide for the common good. We must question anything that gets in the way of that.— 🚶🏽jack (@jack) November 10, 2016
Back home, the general mood among Indian IT leaders was more openly positive than their US counterparts.
"On the campaign trail, statements are not based on calculated assessments, on what is possible or what the impact will be. You could say you will eliminate H-1B visas, build a wall. But practically, you have to see what you can do to boost the economy, create jobs," NASSCOM's president R Chandrashekhar told the Economic Times.
"I personally welcome Donald Trump as the president of USA. He is the voice of the people. He is a creator vs professional politician. Second, during Republicans, India was given access to elite nuclear club when George Bush was president. My take is that economic, social and defense-related ties between India and USA will increase during Mr Trump's tenure. Also, he is just straight forward human being with all emotions ranging from love to anger vs. a seasoned professional politician with controlled temperament," Mr Sandeep Aggarwal, Founder, ShopClues & Droom said in a statement.
The IT industry sounds cautious in the wake of Trump's victory, as what it fears most, just like any other business, is uncertainty.