Is Microsoft buying TikTok amidst issues surrounding the app? Microsoft has held talks about buying the Chinese-owned firm, according to a source.
A source familiar with the situation said that the talks are not new anymore and they have been underway for some time.
A TikTok acquisition could redirect Microsoft, a major provider of business software, to consumer technology, which Microsoft has avoided in recent years by leaving the smartphone hardware, e-book markets, and fitness hardware.
Amy Hood, Microsoft’s chief financial officer, said in 2018 that the company had been constantly acquiring “networked assets” with many users, like LinkedIn.
Chinese company ByteDance introduced TikTok in 2017. The app became more popular during the coronavirus pandemic, achieving 2 billion downloads in April, based on Sensor Tower’s data. Its competitors include Facebook and Snap.
ByteDance investors aiming to take over TikTok have priced it at $50 billion, according to Reuters.
Microsoft did not give any comment on the talks, which were first revealed by Fox Business Network.
“While we do not comment on rumors or speculation, we are confident in the long-term success of TikTok,” TikTok said in a statement Friday.
Trump to ban TikTok
However, President Donald Trump recently announced that he plans to ban TikTok from the US.
The popularity of TikTok in the US invited scrutiny from the Trump Administration. Earlier this week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said his department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the US is investigating TikTok’s status.
“We’re looking at TikTok, we may be banning TikTok, we may be doing some other things, there’s a couple of options but a lot of things are happening, we’ll see what happens,” Trump said on the White House’s South Lawn. “We are looking at a lot of alternatives with respect to TikTok.”
“As far as TikTok is concerned we’re banning them from the United States,” the president told reporters on Air Force One during his flight back to Washington from Florida.
He did not mention whether he will implement it through an executive order, or another process, such as a designation, the NBC News states.
“Well, I have that authority. I can do it with an executive order or that,” Trump said.
Trump’s remarks also came after TikTok announced that it is hiring 10,000 people in the US for the next three years. Its biggest offices in the country are in New York and California.
The company is also reportedly planning to move its headquarters to UK.
A source familiar with TikTok and wanted to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the issue said that the Chinese-owned social media app has yet to decide where to build its international headquarters. According to TikTok, ByteDance was considering some factors that are not related to the political retaliation against Huawei.
“The U.K. is one of our most important markets globally, with a talented and diverse team in London, including senior leadership,” said a ByteDance representative.