Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios


As Microsoft and Walmart work together on a deal to buy TikTok's U.S. business from China's ByteDance, the giants each see fresh opportunities to expand into long-coveted markets — advertising in Microsoft's case and e-commerce for Walmart. But both companies have decidedly mixed track records in these realms.

By the numbers: Walmart currently makes less than 8% of its total revenue on e-commerce, despite pricey forays into the industry, like its $3.3 billion acquisition of the now-defunct Jet.com in 2016. Microsoft makes less than 5% of its revenue on digital ads, despite its $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn in 2016 and numerous other forays into ad-supported businesses

Driving the news: A deal involving Microsoft and Walmart would allow TikTok to remain in the U.S., and would provide a platform for creators to sell goods via a social e-commerce infrastructure, sources tell Axios' Dan Primack.

  • Be smart: The goal would be to build out a business similar to the one ByteDance operates with its Chinese-based TikTok app, called Douyin.
  • Douyin makes most of its revenue from advertising, but has made big investments to increase its e-commerce revenue, mostly via partnerships with Chinese tech giants like Alibaba.
  • The app boasts 400 million daily active users, making it one of China's biggest social video apps.

Microsoft has a long history of digital acquisitions and product development in ad-supported software, beginning with search and, more recently, with investments in other networks, like LinkedIn. But its ad business is still tiny compared to software rivals like Google and Facebook.

  • A series of acquisitions and partnerships over the past 15 years has helped the company develop what it today calls Microsoft Audience Network, a pay-per-click advertising platform for search result ads.
  • Microsoft makes most of its ad revenue on search ads via its search engine Bing, and network advertising from Bing, MSN, Outlook.com, the Microsoft Edge browser and LinkedIn. LinkedIn brings in about $2 billion of the company's roughly $6 billion in annual ad revenue, per estimates from eMarketer.
  • Microsoft has experimented with all different kinds of advertising businesses over the past two decades, including trying to create rivals to YouTube and Twitch and to testing ad-funded versions of Office and Windows. None of those efforts were successful.
  • Most recently, it's made several smaller ad tech acquisitions to help boost its advertising revenue, including advertising data company Drawbridge and retail ad tech company Promote IQ, both in 2019.

Walmart has pushed to expand its e-commerce business aggressively in the past few years, although it has faced some bumps along the way.

  • In 2019, Walmart shut down Jet.com, an e-commerce company it bought for $3.3 billion. The deal helped Walmart jump-start its foray into e-commerce, but Jet's brand proved less attractive than Walmart's.
  • Today, Walmart makes about $41 billion on e-commerce annually, and it's pushing aggressively to take on Amazon by expanding its online marketplace.
  • In June, Walmart said it would open its online marketplace, which reaches 120 million monthly visitors, to Shopify's more than 1 million business clients in an effort to take on Amazon's e-commerce dominance.
  • The company reportedly plans to launch a subscription delivery business to rival Amazon's this summer. A relationship with TikTok could help it market to millions of new customers.

Yes, but: It's still unclear at this point what a Microsoft-Walmart bid for TikTok would even look like or how it might be structured.

  • Nor is it clear that this combo is guaranteed to win the bid. A handful of other tech giants, including Oracle and Softbank, have also reportedly expressed interest.

The big picture: TikTok has a lot of potential, but its business is still nascent.

  • The company announced this year it hit 100 million active users in the U.S., up from around 26 million at the beginning of the year.
  • While its ad business is growing, TikTok is still only beginning to experiment with in-app purchases and e-commerce.
  • The app brought in $176 million in revenue last year, which is tiny compared to tech giants like Google and Facebook, but analysts see big potential for revenue and growth.
  • Plus, any shift in ownership could risk diluting the secret sauce that has made TikTok a youth-market hit.

Go deeper: Microsoft working with Walmart on TikTok deal

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Dec 3, 2020 - Economy & Business

Amazon's second great land-grab

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Amazon is in the midst of a hiring spree unprecedented in American corporate history. It's a show of force that, if history is any guide, will be extraordinarily difficult to compete with.

By the numbers: Amazon has been doing extremely well during the coronavirus pandemic. In the six months from April through September this year it made a profit of $11.6 billion. That's up from $4.8 billion in the same period of 2019, and a mere $450 million in those six months of 2017.

Dec 4, 2020 - Technology

Scoop: Trump admin mulls blocking cloud firms from countries like China

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A proposed executive order that could keep American cloud computing companies out of certain foreign countries is being circulated within the Trump administration and to tech industry players, Axios has learned, disconcerting the firms that could be affected.

Why it matters: The proposal would likely represent a chance to plant another tough-on-China flag before the president leaves office. The Trump administration has repeatedly sought to prove that it will stand up to countries that it believes want to supplant or infiltrate American tech.

Mark Meadows will stop cooperating with Jan. 6 panel, attorney says

Photo: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will no longer cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, his attorney told Fox News Tuesday.

Why it matters: Meadows, who failed to appear before the panel last month, is believed to have insight into former President Trump's role in efforts to stop the certification of President Biden's election win.