Whoa! Stranger things have happened. But Microsoft of all companies has surprisingly slotted in pole position to take over TikTok, the Internet phenomenon that has taken the world by storm.
ByteDance, the parent company of the video sharing service has come under increased scrutiny for its alleged ties with the Chinese government. This is the reason behind a number of countries either banning the app outright, or thinking about doing so.
A takeover by another company seems like the only way out.
Which is exactly why founder Zhang Yiming started talks with prospects a few weeks ago, according to this report by The Wall Street Journal. And these discussions come at just the time when a ban in the United States seems imminent.
In a rare move, the software titan confirmed interest in acquiring the company, with an announcement expected in the middle of September. Unsurprisingly, the primary focus here in this deal is user security and data privacy.
“Among other measures, Microsoft would ensure that all private data of TikTok’s American users is transferred to and remains in the United States. To the extent that any such data is currently stored or backed-up outside the United States, Microsoft would ensure that this data is deleted from servers outside the country after it is transferred.”
At the end of the day, Microsoft buying a social network may be a risk move, but it’s not all that surprising when you consider the current trajectory of the software titan.
For starters, Redmond has seen an increased focus on enterprise lately, with products like Office 365, Teams, and Azure sharing most of the spotlight. The consumer side of the coin has progressed rather slowly, to the dismay of the user base.
Buying TikTok could just be the reboot Microsoft seeks in the consumer space.
Even if it potentially costs $50 billion.