Oakland: President Donald Trump said late on Friday he plans to ban Chinese-owned TikTok from operating in the United States, the latest sign of the administration's increasingly strident stance on China and its tech companies.
"As far as TikTok is concerned, we're banning them from the United States," Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One.
US President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the White House.Credit:AP
Earlier on Friday, Trump was considering signing an order forcing China's ByteDance to sell off the US portion of TikTok over national security concerns, according to people familiar with the talks, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss it publicly.
Microsoft is in talks to acquire TikTok, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions.
It's unclear how advanced the talks between Microsoft and TikTok are, but any deal could help alter TikTok's ownership, said the person with knowledge of the talks.
Microsoft generates the bulk of its $US143 billion ($200 billion) in annual revenue by licensing software such as Windows and Office as well as cloud storage and computing tools through its Azure service.
The US government is concerned about TikTok’s links to the Chinese government.Credit:AP
The company, with advertising supported businesses including its Bing search engine, MSN news service and LinkedIn business social network, disclosed this month that its search ads sales grew 1 per cent to $US7.7 billion over the last year. But that growth was flat when excluding fees it pays to partner websites and apps.
The ad market research company eMarketer has estimated LinkedIn's ad revenue at about $2 billion annually in the United States alone. But Microsoft also said this month LinkedIn ads sales have fallen this year as the novel coronavirus pandemic prompted advertisers to pare spending.
Social media services, including Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc's YouTube, have seen their sales growth continue during the pandemic as users spend more time entertaining themselves online – particularly with video – and advertisers follow them there.
Without an entertainment service aimed at a broad audience, Microsoft has struggled to capture the increasingly lucrative videos flowing to YouTube, Facebook and more recently TikTok, which widely opened its ad tools this month.
Increased US regulatory scrutiny of potentially anticompetitive behavior by Facebook and YouTube have likely diminished their ability to purchase a major competitor soon, according to antitrust experts. Microsoft, though, faces fewer constraints.
"Its consumer strategy remains in flux and an aggressive acquisition (or strategic investment) of TikTok would be Microsoft throwing its hat in the ring and trying to compete with other tech giants in a new avenue of growth," Wedbush financial analyst Dan Ives said in a statement on Friday.
Washington Post, Reuters
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