Federal Government Probes Foreign Investments in U.S. Tech

As part of ongoing security concerns focused on technology, the Trump administration is now re-examining investments in U.S. tech startups by Chinese and other foreign groups, even investments that are years old. Heading the investigation is the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) which, after gathering information, can decide whether to probe specific deals more deeply and even demand that the foreign investor divest. The probe is based on the government’s belief that the United States did not sufficiently scrutinize these investments from China and other countries. Continue reading Federal Government Probes Foreign Investments in U.S. Tech

TikTok-Oracle Deal Rests on Data Security, Ownership Details

In its deal with Oracle, ByteDance is angling for majority ownership of TikTok. “Conceptually, I can tell you I don’t like that,” responded President Donald Trump, who is still in favor of U.S. majority ownership of the app’s operations. Although Trump admitted he hadn’t been briefed on the specifics of the deal, Senate Republicans and others are concerned that it falls short of the original goal. A source stated that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin aims to ensure that U.S. ownership is “well over 50 percent.” Meanwhile, the Commerce Department, at President Trump’s direction, announced this morning that TikTok and WeChat will be banned from app stores in the U.S. beginning on Sunday. Continue reading TikTok-Oracle Deal Rests on Data Security, Ownership Details

More Details on Oracle’s Bid to Be TikTok’s Trusted Partner

Although Microsoft and Walmart’s joint bid was considered the leader to become the “trusted partner” of the U.S. operations of ByteDance’s social video app TikTok, cloud and platform services company Oracle has come out on top. The structure of the Oracle deal is still unknown, but one source said it will not be an “outright sale.” The White House and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) still have to approve the proposal. President Trump stated he would ban TikTok if it isn’t sold by September 20. TikTok has about 100 million monthly users in the U.S. Continue reading More Details on Oracle’s Bid to Be TikTok’s Trusted Partner

Oracle-TikTok Deal Is Under Review by Federal Government

In an effort to avoid a ban in the U.S., popular social video platform TikTok aims to partner with cloud services company Oracle. TikTok parent ByteDance proposed a deal in which Oracle would serve as tech provider in the U.S., although details have not been revealed regarding any potential changes to TikTok’s ownership structure. ByteDance submitted the proposal to the U.S. Treasury Department and Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced plans to review it this week with a particular emphasis on security issues. If approved, the deal could make Oracle a major advertising player that is more relevant to younger audiences. Continue reading Oracle-TikTok Deal Is Under Review by Federal Government

TikTok and U.S. Reportedly in Talks on Possible Partnership

According to sources, ByteDance and the U.S. government are discussing avoiding a full sale of TikTok’s U.S. operations. Although President Trump issued an executive order for ByteDance to do so by a November 12 deadline, the Chinese government restricted the export of AI technology, making the sale more difficult. One possibility is that TikTok will partner with a U.S. company that would help secure its data. Sensor Tower reported that, again, TikTok was the most downloaded non-gaming app globally in August 2020. Continue reading TikTok and U.S. Reportedly in Talks on Possible Partnership

New TikTok Chief Executive Departs Over U.S.-China Battle

TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer quit the company only months after assuming the role. The company’s general manager Vanessa Pappas will become the interim chief. Sources stated that Mayer, formerly of Disney, decided to leave TikTok after President Trump issued a ban on the popular social platform unless its Chinese parent company ByteDance sold its assets to a U.S. company within 90 days. Mayer’s resignation letter stated that he had reflected on “what the corporate structural changes will require, and what it means for the global role I signed up for.” Continue reading New TikTok Chief Executive Departs Over U.S.-China Battle

Federal Payroll Loans Unevenly Distributed to Tech Startups

According to a Treasury Department report, a number of tech startups have received funds from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, forgivable loans intended to pay workers’ salaries. Cloud software company C3.ai, for example, valued at $3.3 billion, got a $5 million Paycheck Protection Program loan. Other startups have been denied loans, however, when the federal authorities deemed their venture capital partners an “affiliated business.” Meanwhile, almost 70,000 employees of tech startups recently lost their jobs. Continue reading Federal Payroll Loans Unevenly Distributed to Tech Startups

Pentagon Nixes Commerce Dept. Efforts to Rein in Huawei

The Pentagon has overruled the U.S. Commerce Department’s efforts to make it more difficult for U.S. companies to sell to Huawei Technologies from their overseas facilities. According to sources, the Defense Department and the U.S. Treasury Department also objected to the Commerce Department’s move. The Pentagon’s main concern is that if U.S. companies lose a significant source of revenue, they will be unable to fund research and development sufficiently enough to “maintain a technological edge.” Continue reading Pentagon Nixes Commerce Dept. Efforts to Rein in Huawei

FCC Chair Ajit Pai Plans a Public Auction of C-Band Waves

The Federal Communications Commission wants to offer a public auction of C-Band airwaves, taking away control from Intelsat SA and SES SA, which had planned a private auction that could have earned them billions of dollars. FCC chair Ajit Pai said the airwaves would be freed for 5G wireless use and generate revenue for the U.S. government. The plan could be voted on in early 2020. The satellite companies protested, saying they would work to create an alternative plan and calling Pai’s plan “a significant departure.” Continue reading FCC Chair Ajit Pai Plans a Public Auction of C-Band Waves

OECD Aims to Regulate Where Online Companies Pay Taxes

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has devised a proposal to prevent digital giants such as Amazon, Apple and Facebook from avoiding paying taxes. The proposal, which would allow countries to tax such big multinational firms even if they did not operate there, would enable new taxes on all kinds of multinational companies — not just tech firms — that operate online. As of now, many of these digital companies avoid heavier taxes by moving profits to countries with low tax rates. Continue reading OECD Aims to Regulate Where Online Companies Pay Taxes

Congress Advances a Bill That Could Curb U.S.-Chinese Deals

Congress is advancing a bill that would put more power in the hands of the federal government to block deals between U.S. and Chinese companies deemed to risk national security. Tensions between the two countries are high as each threatens and seeks to negotiate with the other. President Trump and Chinese vice premier Liu He met to discuss potential concessions as the U.S. ramps up threats of tariffs, while China’s antitrust division just lifted a many-month delay on Bain Capital’s $18 billion deal with Toshiba’s memory chip unit. Continue reading Congress Advances a Bill That Could Curb U.S.-Chinese Deals

Broadcom’s Bid for Qualcomm Blocked Over Security Issues

Citing national security concerns, President Donald Trump has put the brakes on Singapore-based Broadcom’s attempt to acquire rival chipmaker Qualcomm. The companies were ordered to abandon the $117 billion acquisition bid and dismiss any proposals for Broadcom’s candidates to run for seats on Qualcomm’s board. Had it been approved, the purchase would have marked the largest tech deal of its kind. Broadcom says it “strongly disagrees that its proposed acquisition of Qualcomm raises any national security concerns.” Continue reading Broadcom’s Bid for Qualcomm Blocked Over Security Issues

Bipartisan Support in Congress for Cryptocurrency Regulation

Congress is considering federal rules for cryptocurrency to impose a federal oversight that has thus far been lacking. In the Senate and the House, both Democrats and Republicans — even free-market conservative Republicans — are addressing the risks highlighted by recent events involving fraud and hacking. All parties see the potential risk to the U.S. economy posed by speculative trading of the various popular virtual currencies. Lawmakers propose that the Securities and Exchange Commission lead the issues. Continue reading Bipartisan Support in Congress for Cryptocurrency Regulation

European Commission: Apple Must Pay Tax Penalty to Ireland

The European Commission has issued a $14.5 billion tax penalty against Apple, claiming the tech giant owes unpaid taxes following a sweetheart deal with Ireland that constitutes illegal state aid. Apple and Ireland both have plans to appeal the decision. “We never asked for, nor did we receive, any special deals,” wrote Apple CEO Tim Cook. “We now find ourselves in the unusual position of being ordered to retroactively pay additional taxes to a government that says we don’t owe them any more than we’ve already paid.” The Wall Street Journal suggests the “decision is likely to aggravate trans-Atlantic tensions over the investigations into tax deals brokered between U.S. multinational corporations and individual European countries.” Continue reading European Commission: Apple Must Pay Tax Penalty to Ireland

Juniper Networks Backdoor Hack Likely From Foreign Nation

Tech giant Juniper Networks just found unauthorized code — essentially a backdoor — in the operating system running some of its firewalls. The hidden backdoor, found in versions of the company’s ScreenOS software dating back to at least August 2012, enable hackers to take complete control of Juniper NetScreen firewalls as well as decrypt encrypted traffic running through the Virtual Private Networks (VPN) on the firewalls. The FBI is investigating the breach, which appears to be the work of a foreign government. Continue reading Juniper Networks Backdoor Hack Likely From Foreign Nation