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Trump’s immigration policies costing US tech jobs says LogMeIn CEO

If you can’t bring people in, you build bigger offices offshore

President Trump’s immigration policies are costing the United States technology jobs, rather than their intended effect of growing them, according to Bill Wagner, the CEO of LogMeIn.

Speaking to The Register in Sydney, Australia, today, Wagner said his company had hoped to bring in more workers, some on H-1B visas. He now believes that won’t be possible, that the company will instead need to establish bigger offices offshore and that the net outcome will be fewer employees in the USA.

Wagner said other technology CEOs with whom he meets have expressed similar sentiments. He added his hope that the cost of running extra offshore offices is offset by lower labour costs, so that shareholders don’t see extra cost.

LogMeIn has seen the impact of the USA’s new immigration policy first-hand: the company was founded in Hungary and Wagner said two Hungarian employees based in the USA – and their families - were recently been denied re-entry to the USA after visiting their homeland.

Wagner also discussed the integration of Citrix’s GoTo businesses, which LogMeIn acquired in 2016 and started running in early 2017. The CEO said much of the last year has been spent on back-office integration: Citrix ran SAP, LogMeIn uses Salesforce and making the twain meet has occupied a lot of his time, as has managing the transition from 800 employees and $300m revenue to 3,000 people and a $1.1bn run rate.

Integration has also meant a pause in product development, as developers have been busy re-branding software, Wagner said. That phase has now ended and innovation is on the agenda again.

But the company doesn’t plan to link its products. Wagner said LogMeIn is “A house of brands, rather than a branded house”. He therefore feels the company can thrive without integrating its wares, although he’s made an exception for voice: the company recently acquired Jive Communications because Wagner believes that online meetings and phone calls are merging and LogMeIn needed both capabilities. But he doesn’t see the buy as an admission that LogMeIn lacks the integrations that Cisco and Microsoft enjoy across their collaboration suites. Indeed, he thinks LogMeIn buyers see the suites such companies offer and reject that approach in favour of simpler-to-acquire SaaS products.

LogMeIn’s secret sauce, Wagner said, is therefore making its products so immediately compelling that it can win users with its Freemium pricing. Once that vanguard elite of users demonstrate the power of LogMeIn’s products, the sales team swings into action and nails down a paid deal.

One class of user LogMeIn is actively discouraging from having anything to do with its wares is tech support scammers. Wagner said the company is aware that its remote access tools can be mis-used, so has shortened the free trial period from 60 days to under two weeks and no longer accepts registrations from generic email addresses. The company has added a fraud team to track such users and Wagner's monthly meeting with LogMeIn's chief information security officer always considers the problem. ®

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