Big Tech Seeks Government Aid in Face of Economic Headwinds

The White House
(Image credit: Matt H. Wade/Wikimedia Commons)

Some of the largest technology companies are asking the government for money to help the sector weather massive layoffs, a downturn in global venture funding and the shuttering of startups, suggesting without it the U.S. could lose tech leadership.

For example, Google’s net income in the fourth quarter of 2022 was only $13.6 billion compared to $20.6 billion for the same quarter in 2021.

In advance of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday (February 7), the Chamber of Progess, whose backers include some of the most biggest big tech compaines around — Amazon, Apple and Googlehave written to the president to call for targeted investments in their technologies, including artificial intelligence and connected cars.

They blamed their job cuts on “increase in interest rates, lingering inflation, changes in consumer behavior and the resulting downturn in advertising” and conceded those cuts could have a “crushing” impact on workers, their families and even their health. They also argue that the trickle down from not helping tech boost jobs will be felt by “coffee shops, restaurants and furniture stores” that won't be getting the business of those laid off workers.

The solution, they suggested, warning that without it the U.S. could lose its tech leadership edge: Some government money. “[T]he federal government has a history of making targeted investments to bolster an industry’s stability with the goal of attracting additional private sector capital.”

“To help prevent a worsening economic cycle and to maintain U.S. competitiveness in tech during the current downturn, I urge your Administration to put forward a plan for tech-sector recovery, job growth, and competitiveness,” Chamber of Progress CEO Adam Kovacevich wrote. 

Elsewhere on the “tech tips for the SOTU” front, Information Technology Industry Council president Jason Oxman had some pointers for the president.

Oxman said Biden should ask Congress to look into issues like workforce development, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, telecom, “high-skilled immigration” and more, as well as urge legislators to get together on national privacy legislation. ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.