In Trump’s view, Apple is emblematic of US manufacturers responsible for killing domestic jobs by buying components made and assembled overseas. The iPad employs chips designed in Britain by ARM, memory from South Korea’s Samsung and Japan’s Toshiba and Elpida Memory, with assembly by Foxconn in Taiwan.
But step back and Trump’s economic nationalism extends beyond the obvious target of Apple – it takes in a broad swath of tech firms large and small from “ordinary” US states and places.
Over in Trump-friendly Texas, Dell employs Samsung’s NAND in its storage devices with Massachusetts-based EMC also employing Sammy’s memory.
Up in the Hillary-Clinton-supporting northwest, Microsoft uses the Foxconn-like Pegatron in Taiwan to build its Surfaces, which also happen to employ Samsung’s SSD.
Technology firms across the US, not just Silicon Valley, are plugged into the global sourcing and integration of components.
The rise of IoT takes this into newer, smaller devices – no longer just the big stuff of enterprise or the shiny stuff in the hands of consumers.
US firms that are part of this global supply chain will pay more in tax.
Trump has proposed to tax goods from US companies made abroad and imported with a 35 per cent levy on goods coming from Mexico. He has also talked of a 15 per cent tax on “outsourcing jobs” and an apparent further 20 per cent tax for all imported goods.
It’s therefore reasonable to expect the price of tech to increase domestically in the long term and for the cost to feed in internationally.
There is a “but”, however. Donald Trump himself. Given his propensity for verbal pugilism during the presidential campaign, it’s difficult to know what words were intended simply to score points and grab the sound bite and which was actual policy in the making
If companies invested a fraction of the amount of the cost to move overseas in training, then the landscape would be far different today. The likes of Apple just accelerate the race to the bottom and hollow out the middle class adding the income disparities that we see today.