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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Comments (18)

18 responses to “Report: Now Microsoft Wants All of TikTok”

  1. vhaakmat

    I don't envy the Project manager that needs to spearhead this tankless endeavor. Data conversion from one program to the other is already a no-no for most, imagine adding AI to that list

  2. harrymyhre

    I think everybody is looking at tik tok like it’s all finished. Microsoft can change it and evolve it. Doesn’t have to stay the same as it is.

  3. illuminated

    I could not understand why TikTok was targeted at all but just searching for TikTok Tulsa Trump brings a lot of clues. Microsoft should just forget about it.

  4. yaddamaster

    Microsoft is a schizophrenic organization. Brilliant with some products and operations. And absolutely bonkers on others. They simply cannot do anything right in the consumer sphere outside of xBox.

    Dear Lord - TikTok will be gone within six months. My kids have already moved on from it.

    If Microsoft wants to get into the social space then come up with a strategy to create and then implode social media companies every six months. The younger crowd literally just moves on - always looking for the latest cool thing.

  5. ghostrider

    Jeez Microsoft, just let it go. Trying to push this through isn't going to do you any favors, and it's certainly not going to make you cool with the teens like you want. TikTok is a flash in the pan, and if you did manage to push this through, once you start with your normal route of changing too much until it's unusable, users would have moved on anyway.

  6. matapillar


  7. sherlockholmes

    I smell some layoffs at TikTok in the near future .....

  8. codymesh

    Someone at Microsoft please stop this, put an end to it at once. They are walking into a political minefield spanning two continents.

  9. darkgrayknight

    This actually makes at least more sense than just buying the US portion. (Not that I find much sense in Microsoft purchasing TikTok at all).

  10. pgiftos

    I've looked at TikToc a couple of times, I don't really see the point of it. Sounds like Microsoft is buying it to appease the US government.

  11. Cdorf

    I still dont know how I feel about this, I am curious Paul if this changes your feelings at all

  12. red.radar

    I can think of more entertaining ways to light billions of dollars on fire

  13. dcdevito

    This makes more sense, especially if they need to build an entire new stack.

  14. BrianEricFord

    Five and eight years for a social media network with no real proprietary ideas might as well be a million years.

    This remains stupid.

  15. richardbottiglieri

    That logo kind of looks like an anchor, which is fitting since that's exactly what it will feel like for Microsoft should this go through.

  16. dbonds

    Remember back in 2008 when MSFT tried to buy Yahoo for ~$45bil? It failed and MSFT likely dodged a bullet on that one. Some 8 years later in 2016, Verizon bought yahoo for ~$4.8bil. Granted, Yahoo sold off most of Alibaba in the interim, so it's not exactly an even comparison, but still....this attempt by MSFT to buy TikTok feels to me like that did back in 2008...but worse.