Microsoft Reportedly Backtracks on Buying TikTok Over Trump Opposition

TikTok: Illustration

We're not planning on going anywhere. The company hired Kevin Mayer, a former exec at The Walt Disney Co., to be its CEO to lend to its image that it is just a fun app meant for catchy songs and dances, and not a secretive operation.

TikTok remains massively popular in America (and the rest of the world), with a record-breaking 315 million downloads in the first quarter of 2020.

President Trump reportedly has a "deal on his desk" that would allow total American oversight of the video sharing app TikTok.

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

President Donald Trump announced on Friday on Air Force One his intention to ban TikTok, with American authorities raising concerns the service could be a tool for Chinese intelligence.

In response to the impending ban, Reuters report that ByteDance, Chinese owners of TikTok, have agreed to sell their stake to U.S. based Microsoft, in the hopes it would avoid a blanket ban in the country.

The potential acquisition would give TikTok an opportunity to regain Americans' trust and build on its current success, particularly among young users.

TikTok has refused to comment "on rumors or speculation", after the media requested to shed light on the paused talks.

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Microsoft is now in talks to buy the American operations of TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance.

The message from Pappas was pushed out to all U.S. -based users on TikTok as a notification, and appears on their discover page, making it clear they want this seen by the entire community.

The deal would be a win for Microsoft, giving it a long-sort foothold in social media; a win for the Trump administration, which would avoid a backlash from banning a wildly popular app, and - if the price is anything like the US$26 billion that Microsoft paid for business networking site LinkedIn, it will be a win for ByteDane. Multiple media outlets reported Friday that the president was considering signing an executive order requiring ByteDance to divest the USA portion of TikTok.

Addressing concerns about data security, she said TikTok was behaving responsibly. TikTok has repeatedly insisted it would never provide any data if the Chinese government asked.

Mr Trump was also criticised by the American Civil Liberties Union. "So we appreciate the support, we're here for the long run, and continue to share your voice here and let's stand for TikTok", she added.

The company, with advertising supported businesses including its Bing search engine, MSN news service and LinkedIn business social network, disclosed this month that its search ads sales grew 1 per cent to $7.7 billion over the previous year. As tensions with China have grown, so have the suspicions of TikTok harvesting user data.

ByteDance was valued at as much as $140 billion earlier this year when one of its shareholders, Cheetah Mobile, sold a small stake in a private deal.

The bulk of ByteDance's revenue comes from advertising on apps under its Chinese operations including Douyin - a Chinese version of TikTok - and news aggregator app Jinri Toutiao, as well as video-streaming app Xigua and Pipixia, an app for jokes and humorous videos.

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