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Microsoft deal to buy TikTok under scrutiny due to close ties with Beijing

A deal which would allow TikTok to avoid a ban by the US may be in jeopardy due to concerns over Microsoft’s being too close to the Chinese government.

James Anthony The Post Millennial
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A deal which would allow the popular social media app TikTok to avoid an impending ban by the US government may be in jeopardy due to concerns over Microsoft's being perhaps a little too close to the Chinese government, according to Bloomberg.

White House advisor Peter Navarro has already weighed in, saying that he feels a deal is too risky. Navarro is concerned due to the longstanding relationship the American tech giant has had with China.

"Whose software does the People's Liberation Army and China run on?" Navarro asked during an interview on CNN. "Microsoft," he answered. "The Chinese Communist Party, whose software do they use to do all the things they do? It's Microsoft. So this is not a white hat company. It's an American company, it's clearly a multinational company, that's made billions in China, that enables Chinese censorship through things like Bing and Skype."

Navarro went on to say that "Microsoft is one of one of four or five American technology companies, Yahoo, Google, Cisco and others, who helped China originally build the Great Firewall of China, which is used to surveil, track, monitor, censor and imprison the Chinese people. But more importantly, one of the few surviving search engines from America in China is Bing and Microsoft owns Bing so we know that there's some some fishy stuff going on there."

US President Donald Trump met with Microsoft CEO Satya Nardella over the weekend to talk about the potential for a deal, according to Deadline. He did not appear to share Navarro's concerns.

"We had a great conversation," Trump said. "He called me to see whether of not, how I felt about it, and I said look, it cannot be controlled, for security reasons, by China, too big, too invasive, and here's the deal, I don't mind if, whether it is Microsoft or somebody else, a big company, a secure company, very American company buy it."

Trump said that the possibility for a deal for the American takeover of the app "will close down on Sept. 15 unless Microsoft or somebody else is able to buy it and work out an appropriate deal so that the Treasury of the United States gets a lot of money."

Microsoft released a statement claiming that no user data of any sort would leave the US under the terms of the new deal. And, as recently reported in The Post Millennial the deal also leaves open the possibility of another entity aside from Microsoft taking over operations, should Microsoft be found to be an unacceptable alternative for whatever reason.

A statement released by the company also said that "Microsoft will move quickly to pursue discussions with TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, in a matter of weeks, and in any event completing these discussions no later than September 15, 2020. During this process, Microsoft looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United States Government, including with the President."

TikTok's American CEO, Kevin Mayer, has criticized entities like Facebook on his personal blog, and claimed that the US is being biased and unfair in their treatment of TikTok. However, he has gotten lots of pushback from the internet in general.

Ironically enough, almost all Microsoft products are currently completely banned in China, as are all products from Google and many other major US software developers. Heavily altered and censored versions of Bing (Microsoft's search engine) and LinkedIn are available in China, although they are not widely used.

Navarro went on the record as being precisely concerned about the fact that Bing is one of the only things coming from the US on the internet that still works in China. Navarro said: "one of the few surviving search engines from America in China is Bing and Microsoft owns Bing so we know that there's some some fishy stuff going on there."

Another concern regarding Microsoft's possibly conflicted loyalties was raised when Microsoft president Brad Smith decided to denounce the Trump government for the way Huawei Technologies was treated. Huawei products are currently all but banned within US borders due to concerns that the tech has a "back door" into Beijing.

Another possibility that may allow for the deal to work to the satisfaction of everybody involved would be for Microsoft to divest all of its assets in China.

TikTok recently announced that the app would no longer be available in Hong Kong, as Beijing has imposed national security laws.

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