Microsoft has ended its pursuit of TikTok’s US business after Chinese parent company ByteDance rejected its bid.
ByteDance is facing a race against time to find a new home for its social media network’s US operations following a promised ban from president Trump. The administration has ordered ByteDance to “divest its ownership” amid concerns over data privacy.
Microsoft stated its interest in purchasing the US operation in early August, but that interest has now waned after its bid was deemed unacceptable.
A statement from Microsoft confirmed this, saying: “ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok’s US operations to Microsoft. 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 is unclear whether this was, as previously reported, a joint bid with retail giant Walmart.
Despite discussions with Twitter and Netflix, Larry Ellison’s enterprise software company Oracle has now emerged as the frontrunner for TikTok. It is believed that Oracle would operate as a cloud services provider for TikTok rather than directly operating the business.
The past month of negative attention from the US government has seemingly undone the previous year of wooing the country by TikTok, and came to a head with the resignation of CEO Kevin Mayer – who joined the firm less than six months prior from Disney.
The Trump administration initially set a 15 September deadline for a deal, but that was extended to 12 November. The app may once again enter Trump’s crosshairs on the general election campaign trail as he continues his strong anti-China rhetoric.