Report: Now Microsoft Wants All of TikTok

Posted on August 6, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Social with 18 Comments

A new report claims that Microsoft is attempting to purchase TikTok’s entire global business and not just its U.S.-based assets.

The Financial Times, citing five sources, reports that Microsoft has expanded its offer for TikTok to include not just its U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand-based assets, but its entire global business. TikTok, as you may know, is owned by China-based ByteDance, but it does not operate in China. Instead, the firm uses a sister service called Douyin.

Microsoft’s new offer would solve a few problems for the social networking service. Key among them is that its biggest market by far is India, with over 650 million users, but India banned the app in June as part of a blacklisting of Chinese mobile apps that it says threaten its national security. Microsoft originally tried to deal for TikTok’s India assets separately but then decided it made more sense to simply snap up all of its global operations instead.

The report notes that there is a long list of obstacles that could prevent the deal from being finalized. And that even if it is consummated, Microsoft may need years to fully separate TikTok’s data and algorithms from China. Microsoft has allegedly requested that it be allowed at least one year to separate TikTok from ByteDance and address the US government’s concerns about data security. But even that timeframe will be difficult to meet, the Financial Times’ sources say. One source claims this process could take between five and eight years.

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