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Trump Impact: Microsoft’s Global Reach May Narrow

Microsoft, a company whose employees and products span the globe, faces the prospect of a nationalist tinge to policies in its home country with the election of Donald Trump.

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, said in a report on Wednesday that Trump had outlined few specific policy positions on the technology industry.

But in areas where Trump had touched on the industry, the tone has occasionally been critical.

Trump’s hard line on immigration is at odds with the position of Microsoft and much of the company’s peers.

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and the leader of the company’s legal and lobbying organization, has campaigned for an increase in the number of skilled workers the company can bring in to the country.

Microsoft, like many technology firms, has come to rely on guest workers who live in the U.S. under the H-1B visa program. During his campaign, Trump said he opposed the program, though his statements on the matter have also been contradictory. He, at times, indicated support for the visas, suggesting raising wages for visa holders and smoothing their path to receiving permanent residency.

The trade policy of a Trump administration could also concern Microsoft.

As a candidate, he opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the giant trade framework under consideration in Congress that Microsoft and much of American big business supported. He has struck a generally protectionist tone, and pledged to renegotiate existing trade deals.

At an event in September in Vancouver, B.C., Microsoft co-founder and board member Bill Gates said Microsoft was structured on the assumption that people, products and ideas could compete in an open global marketplace.

Though he didn’t mention Trump by name, Gates said the rebuke to a more interconnected world dealt by the Brexit vote and “some other things” was worrying.

“Microsoft and my foundation are really predicated on a huge…

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