Tech Drivers
Tech Drivers

Silicon Valley prepares for the Trump transition

Jeff Bezos speaking at the new New York Economic Club luncheon in New York on Oct. 27, 2016.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Silicon Valley shows every sign of fearing a Trump presidency, and if the president-elect's campaign rhetoric matches his governing policies, America's tech capital may have good reason to be afraid.

Meanwhile the White House is readying for a transition of power, from the most tech-friendly administration to one whose tech leanings are largely unknown. Unlike his opponent in the campaign, President-elect Trump never produced a document outlining a clear vision. What we do have instead are Twitter rants and campaign speeches blasting all of today's most valued tech companies, from calling for a boycott of Apple products to accusing Amazon and CEO Jeff Bezos of huge anti-trust problems.

In response, technology stocks have lagged the broader market gains since Trump's victory. The Nasdaq composite ended the week up 3.8 percent compared with the Dow, which logged its best weekly gain in five years. (The Nasdaq was down slightly in midday trading Monday.)

In many ways, President-elect Trump's policies are antithetical to Silicon Valley. His stated positions on jobs, immigration and trade addressed fears among much of the electorate that, among other things, technological change is dramatically increasing inequality.

Former US CTO on Trump and Silicon Valley

Some tech leaders are already making requests.

"The number one ask in the tech industry has been the H-1B visa cap. We have situations where we have employees who are brilliant who are condo-ized. They are literally kept in condos in Vancouver and in other countries just waiting to clear the auction for H-1B. I would fix that and I would fix that on day one. If you want the quickest path to increased success in America, fix that problem," Eric Schmidt, Alphabet's executive chairman and former Google CEO, told CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin at The New York Times' DealBook Conference in New York City on Thursday.

H-1B is a visa that allows highly skilled foreign workers to work in the U.S., largely in science, technology, engineering and math-heavy occupations.

Silicon Valley is hoping President Trump wears his dealmaker hat while negotiating immigration reform. "There's an area of compromise in the basket of high-skill immigration with Sen. Chuck Schumer," said Aneesh Chopra, America's first chief technology officer.

And compromise is essential for technology companies, most of whom compete for talent in a global pool.

"The bigger opportunity is moving an infrastructure bill forward with a provision for repatriations so that tech companies might be able to bring back cash held overseas and deploy the capital for growth at home," said Chopra.

The tech sector is really hoping the new president strikes a different tone than the one he had in the campaign. "We want everyone to feel welcome in the tech sector, and this is at the heart of the anxiety with the president-elect," said Chopra, who has worked alongside President Obama for three years advancing the president's technology agenda.

"My hope is that 'talent, talent, talent' becomes the mantra to lift up those that are struggling in the economy," Chopra said.