Wednesday, 05 August 2020 11:21

Trump suggests Microsoft give govt a cut from price paid for TikTok

Trump suggests Microsoft give govt a cut from price paid for TikTok Image by RJA1988 from Pixabay

In an act that has led to him being labelled a grifter, US President Donald Trump has suggested that the US should get a cut from the price paid for social media company TikTok "‘because we’re making it possible for this deal to happen".

Microsoft has indicated that it is willing to pay what is essentially a bribe. "[We] fully appreciate the importance of addressing the president’s concerns,” a company statement said.

“It is committed to acquiring TikTok, subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the US, including the United States Treasury.”

Microsoft hopes that the acquisition will put it into a position where it can compete with other social media firms. The Redmond company has no presence in this sector at the moment.

TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, has been the target of slurs by many in the US, with claims that the user data it collects could be used for nefarious purposes.

Trump initially wanted to ban the firm, but later agreed to let software behemoth Microsoft — which appears to be BFFs with the president — enter talks to buy it if a deal could be reached before a deadline of 15 September.

Failing that, Trump said, he would ban the company from operating in the US.

TikTok claims to have 100 million American users. Last Saturday, the company's general manager Vanessa Pappas assured its users that it planned to continue operations.

Trump told reporters at the White House: "I said, ‘Look, it can’t be controlled for security reasons by China — too big, too invasive.

“Here’s the deal, I don’t mind whether it’s Microsoft or somebody else — a big company, a secure company, a very American company — can buy it.”

Microsoft has expressed interest in buying TikTok's operations in the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, leaving the rest of the business in Chinese ownership.

Trump said: “I did say that ‘If you buy it…a very substantial portion of that price is going to have to come into the treasury of the United States, because we’re making it possible for this deal to happen.’ Right now, they don’t have any rights unless we give it to them.”

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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