Displaying items by tag: Trump
Oracle-TikTok deal wins US approval
US President Donald Trump has given his approval to the proposed deal between ByteDance, Oracle and Walmart for TikTok’s US operations. The announcement was made a day after the US Commerce Department issued an order prohibiting business with WeChat and TikTok in order to protect national security.
The agreement will see the establishment of a new company called TikTok Global, with four US directors out of five. Together, Oracle and Walmart would hold 20 percent of the new company, for a still undisclosed price. The final transaction will need to get approval from the relevant US government agencies, as well as from Chinese authorities.
Oracle will take a 12.5 percent stake in TikTok Global and will store the data of US data in its own cloud infrastructure. Oracle CEO Safra Catz said Oracle will quickly deploy, rapidly scale and operate TikTok systems in the Oracle Cloud.
Oracle already announced that it was chosen to become TikTok’s secure cloud technology provider. The company believes this technical decision by TikTok was heavily influenced by Zoom’s recent success in moving a large portion of its video conferencing capacity to the Oracle Public Cloud.
“TikTok picked Oracle’s new Generation 2 Cloud infrastructure because it’s much faster, more reliable, and more secure than the first generation technology currently offered by all the other major cloud providers,” said Oracle Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison.
“In the 2020 Industry CloudPath survey that IDC recently released where it surveyed 935 Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) customers on their satisfaction with the top IaaS vendors including Oracle, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, IBM and Google Cloud.... Oracle IaaS received the highest satisfaction score.”
“As a part of this agreement, TikTok will run on the Oracle Cloud and Oracle will become a minority investor in TikTok Global,” said Oracle CEO Safra Catz. “Oracle will quickly deploy, rapidly scale, and operate TikTok systems in the Oracle Cloud. We are a hundred percent confident in our ability to deliver a highly secure environment to TikTok and ensure data privacy to TikTok’s American users, and users throughout the world. This greatly improved security and guaranteed privacy will enable the continued rapid growth of the TikTok user community to benefit all stakeholders.”
ByteDance rejected Microsoft’s offer for its TikTok operations in the US and chose Oracle as “trusted tech partner”. Microsoft had indicated at the beginning of August that it was interested in acquiring TikTok's US operations, but later announced that bid had been rejected.
Microsoft expressed disappointment in the rejection and said it was confident its proposal would have been good for TikTok users, while protection national security interests.
"ByteDance let us know they would not be selling TikTok's US operations to Microsoft," the US tech giant said in a statement.
"We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok's users, while protecting national security interests," it added.
TikTok’s CEO quits amid growing political tensions
TikTok’s CEO said he has quit the company as tensions soar between Washington and Beijing over the Chinese-owned video platform.
Kevin Mayer said that he was resigning after the company came under sustained pressure from the Trump administration over its alleged ties to China.
Mayer's resignation comes days after TikTok filed a lawsuit challenging a crackdown by the US government over claims the wildly popular social media app can be used to spy on Americans.
TikTok has been at the center of a diplomatic storm between the US and China, and President Donald Trump signed an executive order on August 6 giving Americans 45 days to stop doing business with TikTok's Chinese parent company ByteDance, effectively setting a deadline for a sale of the app to a US company.
TikTok, which has been downloaded 175 million times in the US and more than a billion times around the world, argued in the suit that Trump's order was a misuse of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act because the platform, on which users share often playful short-form videos, is not "an unusual and extraordinary threat."
Former Disney executive Mayer, who has only been in the post since May, said in a letter to staff that the "political environment has sharply changed" in recent weeks.
"Against this backdrop, and as we expect to reach a resolution very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to leave the company," he wrote.
"I understand that the role that I signed up for, including running TikTok globally, will look very different as a result of the US administration's action to push for a sell-off of the US business."
TikTok said in a statement: "We appreciate that the political dynamics of the last few months have significantly changed what the scope of Kevin's role would be going forward, and fully respect his decision. We thank him for his time at the company and wish him well."
Huawei heralds Trump’s “U-turn”
President Donald Trump and China's Xi Jinping agreed to a truce in their trade war, and Washington pledged to hold off on new tariffs while they negotiate As the United States and China pursue trade talks, there is a “good chance” that more US firms will be granted licenses to sell products to controversial Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said.
While Trump had signaled the softer position on Huawei, a sticking point in trade talks, by saying US companies could sell equipment “where there's no great national security problem,” Kudlow added a bit of detail.
Trump told Fox News Channel's “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that after meeting with Xi, he believes the two sides are closer to a trade deal.
“We had a very good meeting. He wants to make a deal. I want to make a deal. Very big deal, probably, I guess, you'd say the largest deal ever made of any kind, not only trade,” the president said, according to a transcript released by the channel.
Many US lawmakers, including Senate Republicans like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, are concerned about any lifting of the effective ban against Huawei accessing crucial American technology or operating in the US market.
“If President Trump has agreed to reverse recent sanctions against Huawei, he has made a catastrophic mistake,” Rubio tweeted.
Kudlow emphasized that Huawei will remain on the so-called US Entity List- foreign companies and individuals that are subject to specific export and technology transfer licensing requirements.
“This is not a general amnesty,” Kudlow said. “The Commerce Department will grant some temporary additional licenses where there is a general availability” of the products to be sold, he added.
On the general issue of US-China trade talks, Kudlow declined to offer any deadline for the resolution of the dispute between the world's top two economies, though he admitted the talks could “go on for quite some time. There are no promises, there's no deal made, no timetable. Just resuming the talks... is a very big deal.”
Huawei’s European figurehead accuses US of ‘bullying’
Huawei’s European figurehead has blasted the US over its treatment of the Chinese vendor has described their behavior as ‘bullying’.
China issues warning to US following Huawei ban
The decision taken by the Trump administration to effectively ban Huawei from the US market has drastically deteriorated already soured diplomatic relations between Washington and Beijing as the rest of the world anxiously looks on.
Huawei executive granted bail
Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei, has been released on Can$10 million bail by a Canadian court. The Chinese telecom executive faces a US extradition bid on charges related to alleged violations of Iran sanctions.
She was ordered to surrender her passport and will be subjected to electronic monitoring whilst she stays in Vancouver. Her lawyer said she was not deemed a flight risk, as she did not want to ‘embarrass China.’
The daughter of Huawei’s founder, Meng is accused of lying to bankers about the use of a covert subsidiary to sell to Iran in breach of sanctions. She faces more than 30 years in prison if she is convicted.
The extradition process, scheduled to start on February 6, could take months or even years.
Her arrest has shaken China's relations with Canada and the United States, with concerns that it could derail a US-China trade war truce. President Donald Trump has said he "would certainly intervene" in the case if it can help strike a deal with China.
Meanwhile, the US State Department called on China to "end all forms of arbitrary detentions" after Michael Kovrig - a North East Asia senior adviser, and former Canadian diplomat - was detained in Beijing. The international crisis group (ICG) said in a statement that it has received no information about Kovrig since his detention and is concerned about his health and safety.
Former Canadian ambassador to Beijing, Guy Saint-Jacques, said Kovrig's detention was likely linked to Meng's case.
"There is no coincidence in China," Saint-Jacques told AFP. "In this case it is clear the Chinese government wants to put maximum pressure on the Canadian government."
Tech firms step forward to build Trump’s vetting system
Tech firms including IBM and Red Hat were among many companies in attendance at a two-day presentation about US President Donald Trump’s plan to build a digital system that uses data mining to implement “extreme vetting” to screen immigrants arriving in the United States.
The industry day, hosted by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations department in Arlington, Virginia, was held from 18-19 July, The Intercept reported. Companies in attendance showed their interest in helping to build the system which Trump promised to deliver during his campaigning for the 2016 presidential election.
The President recently said that legal immigration to the US would be cut by half. Trump suffered a setback when his 90-day ban on entry for people from seven mainly Muslim majority countries was blocked by the courts. Under a new modified version that was later passed, Iraq was removed from the list of countries, while Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan remain.
The current vetting practices in the US is said to be insufficient, according to a document from ICE, The Intercept reported. It fails to evaluate whether a prospective immigrant would likely engage in criminal behavior or terrorist activity. The practices are described as being “fragmented across mission areas and are both time-consuming and manually labor-intensive due to complexities in the current US immigration system.”
To replace this, the government is seeking a system that “automates, centralizes, and streamlines the current manual vetting process while simultaneously making determinations via automation if the data retrieved is actionable” so that it can “implement the president’s various executive orders that address American immigration and border protection security and interests.”
The FBI attempted to build a similar system some years ago which failed to proceed because of opposition from the American Civil Liberties Union, an attendee reportedly pointed out. In response, ICE officials said a move against non-citizens would be less likely to be opposed by civil liberties groups.
The company that wins the contract to build the new vetting system will “analyze and apply techniques to exploit publicly available information, such as media, blogs, public hearings, conferences, academic websites, social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, radio, television, press, geospatial sources, internet sites, and specialized publications with intent to extract pertinent information regarding targets, including criminals, fugitives, non-immigrant violators, and targeted national security threats and their location.”
Apple faces dilemma as cash holdings surpass entire economic output of Chile
US tech giants Apple are the victims of its own incredible success, following a quarterly report which indicated its cash holdings, the vast majority of which is held overseas has surpassed the entire economic out-put of Chile. Apple’s stockpile of cash has reached a staggering $256.8 billion, and has sparked debate over what the technology leaders should do with such massive cash reserves.
It has also refocused attention on the issue of the disincentives in the US tax system, which is why Apple thus far has rejected the idea of bringing the cash home to invest in the US market. The current tax system allows multinational corporations to deter profits while they are held in overseas accounts – but taxes income at up to 35% when repatriated.
However, proposals put forward by President Trump and lawmakers have suggested the tax rate on repatriated earning be lowered, in an effort to lure organizations like Apple to reinvest the cash pile back into the US economy. Analysts have conceded that whilst many multinational conglomerates would gladly be in Apple’s position, he conceded that there’s something not healthy about having that must fiscal power.
Roger Kay, analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates said: “Normally, you would expect cash to fund investment opportunities, but obviously Apple doesn't have any use for that much cash. Apple has become the most valuable and profitable company of the current era. But the unique challenges it faces because its earnings come mostly from the iPhone, which faces increasingly tough competition in a saturated smartphone market.”
Analysts have suggested that Apple will be face pressure to return more cash to stakeholders with higher dividends and more share buybacks, it has been disclosed that the tech firm have spent somewhere in the region of $200 billion to do this. However, many fiscal experts have claimed that this procedure do not enhance the long-term strategic interests of anyone.
Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy said: “Returning all the cash to shareholders doesn’t help further anyone’s strategic interests. Apple has to find new ways to diversify its business model. One way to do this - would be by going vertical by acquiring a chipmaker such as AMD to supply all Apple devices.”
According to Moorhead, Netflix could complement Apple’s business by offering content for its ecosystem of devices. In addition to this, he suggested that if Apple is really serious about establishing itself as a leader in the autonomous vehicle sector, then it should buy a car company such as Tesla.
It’s clear that President Trump and his administration are attempting to find ways to attract multinationals like Apple to bring those earnings home for investment and job creation in the US, but with a major stimulus from repatriated assets unlikely – it appears that Apple will resist the idea to bring the cash home, unless the tax system is amended to incentivize them to do so.