Silicon Valley celebrates the election of Joe Biden as the next president – and sends the message that no matter what Donald Trump may say, they regard this race as over.
Tech's most famous and richest people got their first reactions on Saturday after the Associated Press and the major news outlets calling for Biden. Biden's relationship with the tech industry is being closely watched – and could become strained if his administration aggressively monitors the misbehavior of big tech companies. But now everyone is smiling.
Implicitly or explicitly in many of the messages from the big names in the tech industry was that the race between Biden and Trump was over. Trump has made unsubstantiated claims that widespread electoral fraud and other irregularities should challenge the outcome, and his initial statement on the results made it clear that he has no plans to allow the race. Business leaders have reportedly been talking to each other about sending a collective message that the American company disagrees with the president.
Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon and the richest person in the world, had a fiery relationship with Trump that centered mostly around Bezos' holdings in the Washington Post. On Saturday, Bezos – who did not endorse a presidential candidate – said he saw Biden's election as a sign that "unity, empathy and decency are not hallmarks of a bygone era."
"By voting in record numbers, the American people once again demonstrated that our democracy is strong," he wrote on Instagram.
The next richest person in the world, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, also sent the signal that the race is over. Gates prides himself on staying out of the partisan struggle, but he was a harsh critic of Trump's coronavirus response.
I look forward to working with the new administration and leaders on both sides of Congress to tackle the growing pandemic, engaging partners around the world on issues such as poverty and climate change, and issues of inequality and home opportunities to tackle.
– Bill Gates (@BillGates) November 7, 2020
Sheryl Sandberg, the number 2 on Facebook who has become an icon for many women in leadership positions, has long had a personal close relationship with Kamala Harris, the new elected vice president. Sandberg was confident of portraying the election as over – "The votes are in," she said – but also focused on the story of Harris.
"For the first time in 231 years, our next Vice President will be a Black and South Asian American daughter of immigrants," Sandberg wrote. “There are times when America takes a giant step toward a government that reflects the diverse country we are in. Today is one of those days. I happily think of young people across the country who see the news today and think, "Maybe I can lead this nation too."
By Saturday afternoon, Sandberg's boss Mark Zuckerberg hadn't weighed. Perhaps more than any other figure in Silicon Valley, Zuckerberg had to walk a very fine line in the Trump era as he strove to both eradicate misinformation and maintain the platform's neutrality. Figuring out the Biden era will be another challenge for Facebook's CEO.
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