Those who were prematurely celebrating (or mourning) a new era for TikTok under Microsoft will have to put their party hats away. The tech giant has just confirmed that TikTok owners ByteDance have decided to not sell their US operations to them. This comes on the heels of rumors that China would rather close down the U.S operations than sell it to another company. There are also sources saying that another US company, Oracle, has won the bidding for the viral video-sharing app.
The official statement from Microsoft is pretty sparse and did not state a reason as to why ByteDance will not be selling the U.S operations of TikTok to them. What they gave was a vague plan of what they would have done if given the chance to manage the app. They said their proposal would have protected national security interests but also was “good for Tiktok’s users” given the changes that they were going to implement.
Reuter reports that their sources are saying that China would rather that they shut down their US operations totally rather than sell it to an American company. They reportedly believe that it would make China appear weak if they gave in to the “forced sale” that the Trump administration was demanding. They were given until mid-September to finalize a deal, which would also financially benefit the US government. If there will be no sale, TikTok will be banned in the country.
Wall Street Journal is also reporting that Oracle has actually won the bidding for the US operations and will be referred to as TikTok’s “trusted tech partner” rather than an actual sale. The video-sharing app has around 100 million monthly users in the country alone and around 689 million globally. No numbers have been mentioned yet about the dollar value of a deal like this but it should be significant.
TikTok has been caught in the crossfire of strained relations between the US and China. US President Donald Trump has publicly stated and signed an executive he will shut down the app if it’s not sold by September 15. They have accused it of passing on data they collect to the Chinese government. They have not presented any solid proof and ByteDance has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration.