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TikTok is facing yet another call from a prominent lawmaker for the apps ban, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, a Democrat who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to Apple and Google urging the companies to ban TikTok from their respective app stores.In the letter, Bennet says that TikTok, in its current form, [is] an unacceptable threat to the national security of the United States. The letter, addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, repeats many of the same points that have been raised by other lawmakers seeking to ban the app.Specifically, Bennet raises the possibility that TikToks parent company, ByteDance, could be compelled to use its influence to advance Chinese government interests, via TikTok. Like most social media platforms, TikTok collects vast and sophisticated data from its users, including faceprints and voiceprints, Bennet writes. Unlike most social media platforms, TikTok poses a unique concern because Chinese law obligates ByteDance, its Beijing-based parent company, to support, assist, and cooperate with state intelligence work.TikTok has long denied that such scenarios could play out, and has attempted to downplay its ties to China. In a statement to CNN the company said Bennets letter relies almost exclusively on misleading reporting about TikTok, the data we collect, and our data security controls.Apple and Google didnt immediately respond to requests for comment.While it seems unlikely either company would take such a drastic step based on a letter from one senator, it highlights the mounting pressure and scrutiny on TkTok. The company has spent the last two years negotiating with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) in order to secure its ability to continue to operate in the US. But that process is reportedly stalled, and the company has been waging a new charm offensive in an attempt to win over critics.TikTok has also been sharing more details around its partnership with Oracle to safeguard US user data and comply with US regulators concerns. But lawmakers seem to be in no rush to let TikTok off the hook. The app has already been banned from federal devices, and numerous state governments have passed bans of their own. TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is scheduled to testify at his first Congressional hearing next month,
As many Apple watchers have predicted, the company's financial results this quarter are a break from the last few years of nonstop growth. The iPhone maker reported a revenue of $117.2 billion for its first fiscal quarter (ended December 2022), which is five percent down year over year, marking the first time Apple's revenue is down since 2019. There are a couple of bright spots in the company's performance, namely in its setting a revenue record of $20.8 billion in its Services business and hitting more than 2 billion active devices in its installed base. In a statement, CEO Tim Cook said "As we all continue to navigate a challenging environment, we are proud to have our best lineup of products and services ever, and as always, we remain focused on the long term and are leading with our values in everything we do."Apple's decline in revenue is in line with a general slump in the tech industry, with Meta having just reported revenues that are 4 percent down from the previous year. Alphabet is also seeing a slowdown in growth this quarter, and while Microsoft saw its revenue climb, its earnings missed expectations and profits fell by 12 percent. Amid the economic downturn, tech companies havebeenlaying off significant portions of their workforce, though Apple doesn't appear to have made similar moves at the moment.The company is holding a call to go into detail about its financial results at 5pm ET / 2pm PT today, and we will update this post with any additional news and insight.
It's no secret that the huge tech companies are still making money hand over fist, but there's also a noticeable slowdown going on. Google's parent company Alphabet is not immune the company just reported its earnings results for Q4 of 2022, and just barely grew revenue year over year. The $76 billion the company pulled in during the quarter is up only one percent from Q4 of 2021. Google's ad business is the backbone of the company, and revenue slipped there by about 3.5 percent compared to a year ago. But eight percent growth in the "other" category (which includes products like Google and Nest hardware and revenue from the Play Store) and 32 percent yearly growth in in Google Cloud made up for those ad losses. Overall profits, meanwhile, dropped significantly: Quarterly net income of $13.6 billion is down 34 percent year-over-year.Of course, the backdrop for all this is that Google announced a few weeks ago that it is laying off about 12,000 employees; that makes up about six percent of the company's overall workforce. At the time those layoffs were announced, we didn't yet know what Google's financials for last quarter looked like, but now we can see that things are slowing down. That's all relatively speaking, though. Net income of $60 billion for 2022 as a whole was down significantly compared to the $76 billion in profit Alphabet made in 2021 but it's still far ahead of the $40 billion the company pulled in for 2020. It looks like the big numbers Alphabet posted in 2021 weren't exactly sustainable, and obviously we don't yet know what 2023 will bring. But we'll be tuning into the company's call with investors, which starts at 4:30PM ET, to see what additional details CEO Sundar Pichai can share about the state of Alphabet in the year to come.