Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump "has a deal on his desk," whereby Microsoft would lead an acquisition of 100% of the U.S. operations of TikTok, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

Why it matters: Trump Friday night said he plans to ban TikTok, as India has done, over concerns that the app could be sharing U.S. user data with the Chinese government.

What we know: U.S. presidents don't typically have approval or veto power over merger agreements. But this situation is different because of the involvement of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), which has been reviewing ByteDance's 2017 acquisition of U.S. app Musical.ly and eventually merged with TikTok.

What we don't know: It is unclear whether the Microsoft offer involves participation in ByteDance from U.S.-based venture capital investors, some of which reportedly have had interest in helping carve 0ut TikTok.

  • It also remains uncertain exactly what Trump's "ban" threat entails, or under what legal argument he'd block a Microsoft acquisition.

My thought bubble: Microsoft was not among the Big Tech companies called to testify earlier this week in front of a House committee focused on antitrust, thus perhaps giving it more acquisition flexibility than a more natural TikTok owner like Facebook or Google.

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Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Oct 8, 2020 - Technology

Oracle's disconnect on remix culture

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The most important Supreme Court case in modern Silicon Valley history came to oral arguments on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Oracle is suing Google for writing some specialized code, known as an API, which allowed developers to code in Oracle's Java programming language when building Android apps. Oracle claims copyright on Java APIs, and wants $9 billion in damages.

Updated 28 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court denies Pennsylvania GOP request to limit mail-in voting

Protesters outside Supreme Court. Photo: Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday denied a request from Pennsylvania's Republican Party to shorten the deadlines for mail-in ballots in the state. Thanks to the court's 4-4 deadlock, ballots can be counted for several days after Election Day.

Why it matters: It's a major win for Democrats that could decide the fate of thousands of ballots in a crucial swing state that President Trump won in 2016. The court's decision may signal how it would deal with similar election-related litigation in other states.

Microphones will be muted during parts of Thursday's presidential debate

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Commission on Presidential Debates adopted new rules on Monday to mute microphones to allow President Trump and Joe Biden two minutes of uninterrupted time per segment during Thursday night's debate, AP reports.

Why it matters: In the September debate, Trump interrupted Biden 71 times, compared with Biden's 22 interruptions of Trump.