Microsoft is said to be negotiating an acquisition of the US business of TikTok, a Chinese app that mainly teenagers share videos with. The news agency Bloomberg and The New York Times write this based on anonymous sources. Neither company has yet responded to the rumors.
At the same time, Bloomberg reports that US President Donald Trump is pressuring the Chinese to sell the US branch. Whether Trump is able to do that is unclear, but the president has been getting excited about the app for longer than today. He threatened to ban the app several times.
The US has been conducting investigations into the security and suspected risks behind TikTok for some time. The Americans are concerned that the Chinese government is watching and thus has unseen access to the data of the TikTok users.
As a courtesy, ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, promised to release the app’s source code this week. This gives everyone insight into the algorithms. By offering more transparency, the company hopes to be ahead of regulation and become stronger in the US market. In a blog post, TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer encouraged competitors to do the same.
At first sight, a possible takeover of TikTok is a bit strange for Microsoft. Over the years, the tech company has increasingly profiled itself as a supplier to companies, becoming less active in the consumer market. Microsoft has owned LinkedIn since 2016, although a social network but one with a strong professional touch.