Microsoft’s TikTok Acquisition Is Called Off — 48 Hours Before Trump’s Shutdown Deadline

Microsoft calls off TikTok sale following Chinese demands (photo: iXimus)
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Microsoft calls off TikTok sale following Chinese demands (photo: iXimus)
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Time’s up for TikTok in the U.S.? (photo: iXimus)

Microsoft’s acquisition discussions with ByteDance-owned TikTok abruptly terminated this weekend. The negotiations were in advanced stages and expected to close within days, though the Chinese government’s strict demands appear to have killed the deal.

The abrupt bail-out by Microsoft isn’t a complete shocker. Just last week, Beijing weighed into the acquisition discussions involving ByteDance-owned Tiktok, demanding that the sale exclude proprietary algorithms for recommending content and potentially tracking users.

Accordingly, ByteDance passed the message from the Chinese Communist Party, effectively killing the deal overnight.  Technically, ByteDance ‘rejected’ the deal, with Microsoft wisely deciding against spending billions on a neutered app. The software giant declined to alter its buyout proposal in light of China’s stringent demands, leading to the fallout.

An official statement by Microsoft confirmed that the deal was over.

“ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok’s US operations to Microsoft,” the company stated. “We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users, while protecting national security interests. To do this, we would have made significant changes to ensure the service met the highest standards for security, privacy, online safety, and combatting disinformation, and we made these principles clear in our August statement. We look forward to seeing how the service evolves in these important areas.”

It’s unclear where Walmart stands following Microsoft’s exit. Earlier, the mega-retailer had joined forces with Microsoft on a possible joint deal.

But Oracle now appears to be the frontrunner — though perhaps not with an outright acquisition.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Oracle would become a ‘trusted tech partner’ with TikTok, while not pursuing a full-blown purchase. Whether that satisfies the Trump Administration’s criteria for divesting TikTok from Chinese control remains to be seen, however.

Earlier, President Trump demanded that a deal be finalized by September 15th, a date that the Administration has since refused to extend.  That means a shutdown is imminent unless ByteDance can structure a limited deal that Chinese Party officials and the Trump Administration approve.

A shutdown would obviously spell bad news for TikTok users, not to mention US-based executives.

Throughout the process, TikTok has been adamant that the Chinese government has no access to its massive user database, nor does it have any control over the app.  But that story now seems completely fictional, given that Microsoft’s multi-billion dollar buyout deal was scuttled just days after Chinese officials stepped in.

More as this develops.

10 Responses

  1. Angelito

    Of course they would. China won’t release the IP. Besides, Trump has no right to demand a sale of the company in the US. He has once again overstepped his authority.

      • Angelito

        No. He doesn’t. No matter how many time you say it under how ever many names you comment through, and no matter how much he says it, the president does not dictate private business movements.

        • Dr. Faucibreath

          You are incredibly stupid. The executive branch oversees and issues rules for millions of private businesses. If you knew a rat’s fart about the Constitution, you would not be showing your ignorance on DMN.

          Good grief, I hope you are not from the US and have an excuse for being a dimwit.

          • Angelito

            Not how it works. Calling me stupid isn’t going to change that. Coming on strong and trying to berate me isn’t going to change that. It’s called checks and balances. There’s a thing in the US called branches of government – legislative (pass laws), judicial (interpret laws) and executive (enforce laws). The executive branch has limited authority with specific directives. The separation of power in the US government is in place to prevent what Trump thinks he can do. It’s not legal. And, you’re an asshole.

    • Angelito

      Trump has the authority to do many things. Read Article II of the US Constitution, dumbazz.

      • Angelito

        You need to read it, because it doesn’t give him authority for this.

        • Angelito

          I can see you are a scholar. Try this, moron, Article II:

          [The President]… shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.

          Good lord, just how do you think anti-trust litigation breaks up monopolies? Hint, dichead: through the DOJ at the pleasure of the President.

          Yes, even though you have your headupyurazz, the President can tell companies to comply with US Law or face shutdown through the DOJ.

          I really hate stupid people like you. Go back to your Antifa meeting and plan the next statue to topple. That is what you are good at.

          • Angelito

            Copy/paste isn’t going to cut it. You don’t get it. The President cannot randomly attack companies. There has to be proof of wrongdoing through proper channels and investigation. In this case, there isn’t. There’s no monopoly or anti-trust. The only thing here is Trump not liking something and overstepping his bounds to lash out.

            As for your continued idiot comments about Antifa (whatever you think that is), you lose. When you start calling others names and referring to extreme, unrelated topics it makes you look weak…which you are. If you want to really see a stupid person, look in the mirror.

  2. Johnny

    But Brett Gurewitz, the founder of Epitaph and a longtime member of the punk band Bad Religion, has a different take on the situation. He likens today’s TikTok deals to a long, sad history of music industry swindles. “It’s what we saw with Chuck Berry getting a Cadillac instead of royalties,” he says. “It doesn’t really matter if it’s vinyl or an app, every time there’s a new way of doing music, the creators always get screwed.”