TikTok is at the center of a diplomatic storm between Washington and Beijing Photo: AFP/File
tech

TikTok rejects Microsoft buyout offer; Oracle sole remaining bidder

9 Comments
By Daniel HOFFMAN

U.S. tech giant Microsoft said Sunday its offer to buy TikTok was rejected, leaving Oracle as the sole remaining bidder ahead of a looming deadline for the Chinese-owned video app to sell or shut down its U.S. operations.

The Wall Street Journal and New York Times reported that Oracle had won the bidding war, citing people familiar with the deal, although the company did not immediately confirm the matter to AFP.

The Oracle bid would next need approval from the White House and Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a source told the Journal, with both parties under the belief it would meet US data security concerns.

TikTok has been at the center of a diplomatic storm between Washington and Beijing, and President Donald Trump has given Americans a deadline to stop doing business with TikTok's Chinese parent company ByteDance -- effectively compelling a sale of the app to a U.S. company.

Microsoft had indicated at the beginning of August that it was interested in acquiring TikTok's U.S. operations, but said Sunday that bid had been rejected.

"ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok's U.S. operations to Microsoft," the U.S. tech giant said in a statement.

"We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok's users, while protecting national security interests," it added.

In early August, Trump issued an executive order stating that if a purchase agreement were not reached by Sept 20, the platform would have to close in the United States.

Trump claims that TikTok could be used by China to track the locations of federal employees, build dossiers on people for blackmail and conduct corporate espionage.

Downloaded 175 million times in the U.S., TikTok is used by as many as a billion people worldwide to make quirky, short-form videos on their cellphones. It has repeatedly denied sharing data with Beijing.

Microsoft said it would have "made significant changes to ensure the service met the highest standards for security, privacy, online safety, and combatting disinformation."

A deal with Microsoft could also have included Walmart, which joined forces with the tech giant in negotiations.

In late August China's commerce ministry published new rules potentially making it more difficult for ByteDance to sell TikTok to a U.S. entity by adding "civilian use" to a list of technologies that are restricted for export.

ByteDance had vowed to "strictly abide" by new export rules.

TikTok meanwhile has filed a lawsuit challenging the crackdown by the U.S. government, contending that Trump's order was a misuse of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act because the platform is not "an unusual and extraordinary threat."

Controversially Trump has demanded that the U.S. government get a cut of any deal, which critics contend appears unconstitutional and akin to extortion.

Washington has accused other Chinese tech firms such as Huawei of working in the interests of the Chinese Communist Party.

Bidding for TikTok comes amid a broader deterioration of relations between the world's top two economies in recent months, with the U.S. and China locked in fierce recriminations over trade disputes, human rights and the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

© 2020 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

9 Comments
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Just pack up and leave. Unwanted...just like anything else from China.... but wait that is ... unless you are a Dem.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

i think one hundred million US users is not “unwanted”

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Out of curiosity, I looked up Trump's statements on TikTok, and he had zero interest in them until his campaign got punked by TikTok users. Two days later TikTok was a threat to America.

Should an American President be able to shut down a corporation because of personal spite?

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

The Avenger is right. Worse, will this become a new tactic by China. Trump has kind of paved the way for a new form of ransoming.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Two days later TikTok was a threat to America.

And many TikTok users will also vote in November.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And many TikTok users will also vote in November.

And that is why we are witnessing the typical china-nese delaying tactics......delaying until the elections.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The contract has been given to Oracle, but not as a straight purchase but as byte dance's technical partner (what ever that means). I think its something to do with trying to apease the chinese masters.

Either way if you were a fan of tick tok you wont be after oracle makes changes to the eula and makes it expensive and confusing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

USA has the right to ban tik-tok. just as tit for tat.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The contract has been given to Oracle, but not as a straight purchase but as byte dance's technical partner (what ever that means). I think its something to do with trying to apease the chinese masters.

If I were in the C-Suite of Oracle I would be concerned this was a modern day Trojan horse. Buying Tik-tok outright would be one thing, but "partnering" with them can leave them vulnerable seeing their intellectual property stolen and sent to China. I hope the US government prohibits this deal.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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