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ALPHABET INC.

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U.S. judge denies new government bid to remove China's WeChat from U.S. app stores

10/23/2020 | 07:08pm EST
FILE PHOTO: Illustration picture of Wechat app on a mobile phone

(Reuters) - A U.S. judge in San Francisco on Friday rejected a Justice Department request to reverse a decision that allowed Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google to continue to offer Chinese-owned WeChat for download in U.S. app stores.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler said the government's new evidence did not change her opinion about the Tencent app. As it has with Chinese video app TikTok, the Justice Department has argued WeChat threatens national security.

WeChat has an average of 19 million daily active users in the United States. It is popular among Chinese students, Americans living in China and some Americans who have personal or business relationships in China.

WeChat is an all-in-one mobile app that combines services similar to Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Venmo. The app is an essential part of daily life for many in China and boasts more than 1 billion users.

The Justice Department has appealed Beeler's decision permitting the continued use of the Chinese mobile app to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, but no ruling is likely before December.

In a suit brought by WeChat users, Beeler last month blocked a U.S. Commerce Department order set to take effect on Sept. 20 that would have required the app to be removed from U.S. app stores.

The Commerce Department order would also bar other U.S. transactions with WeChat, potentially making the app unusable in the United States.

"The record does not support the conclusion that the government has 'narrowly tailored' the prohibited transactions to protect its national-security interests," Beeler wrote on Friday.

She said the evidence "supports the conclusion that the restrictions 'burden substantially more speech than is necessary to further the government's legitimate interests.'"

WeChat users argued the government sought "an unprecedented ban of an entire medium of communication" and offered only "speculation" of harm from Americans' use of WeChat.

In a similar case, a U.S. appeals court agreed to fast-track a government appeal of a ruling blocking the government from banning new downloads from U.S. app stores of Chinese-owned short video-sharing app TikTok.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chris Reese and Cynthia Osterman)

By David Shepardson


© Reuters 2020
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ALPHABET INC. 2.10% 1763.9 Delayed Quote.28.98%
APPLE INC. 1.16% 115.17 Delayed Quote.59.84%
FACEBOOK INC 3.16% 276.92 Delayed Quote.30.78%
TENCENT HOLDINGS LIMITED -0.34% 584 End-of-day quote.55.48%
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Financials (USD)
Sales 2020 179 B - -
Net income 2020 35 705 M - -
Net cash 2020 118 B - -
P/E ratio 2020 33,9x
Yield 2020 -
Capitalization 1 171 B 1 171 B -
EV / Sales 2020 5,90x
EV / Sales 2021 4,82x
Nbr of Employees 132 121
Free-Float 90,3%
Chart ALPHABET INC.
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Alphabet Inc. Technical Analysis Chart | GOOGL | US02079K3059 | MarketScreener
Technical analysis trends ALPHABET INC.
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
TrendsBullishBullishBullish
Income Statement Evolution
Consensus
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Mean consensus BUY
Number of Analysts 47
Average target price 1 884,54 $
Last Close Price 1 727,56 $
Spread / Highest target 30,2%
Spread / Average Target 9,09%
Spread / Lowest Target -28,4%
EPS Revisions
Managers
NameTitle
Sundar Pichai Chief Executive Officer & Director
John LeRoy Hennessy Chairman
Ruth M. Porat Chief Financial Officer & Senior Vice President
Lawrence E. Page Director
Sergey Mikhaylovich Brin Director
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