U.S. President Donald Trump has been in tech headlines over the weekend as he has once again threatened to ban Chinese-owned social media app TikTok. But there might be a sort-of reprieve for the millions of users in the country as Microsoft said they are trying to get into talks with ByteDance, the app’s parent company. They are offering to buy the U.S. business of TikTok in a move that will boost Microsoft’s “image” and maybe even their financial standing as well.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Trump apparently had a conversation about their potential purchase of TikTok in the U.S. and so the tech giant is now prepared to go into talks with ByteDance. They are targeting to finish discussions with the Chinese company by September 15, 2020. They have actually sent a notice of intent to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.
Not only are they exploring purchasing the U.S. business but they’re also planning to discuss Microsoft potentially owning and operating the app in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. They may also invite other American investors to participate in this endeavor, although they will just be minority partners. Should this deal go through, it can make Microsoft once gain relevant to not just users but also engineers that are looking for a “hip” employer and also advertisers targeting the young market.
If you’re still wondering why Nadella had to have a talk with the president first over this, TikTok has long been a thorn in the U.S. government’s side. They are saying that ByteDance is using the app to spy on Americans although there has been no hard evidence of this and the company has of course denied this. Microsoft had to probably assure the government that the data of American users would remain in the country and if they do transfer it to a server outside, the data would then be deleted.
It would be interesting to see where these talks will lead. ByteDance probably have their backs to the wall as the U.S. government will continue to push them out. We’re also curious how Microsoft, a company that is not really known fo its “hipness” will be able to market and operate this hippest of apps. Well, if the deal pushes through of course.