With TikTok facing a potential ban with measures put in place to make interacting with its Chinese-owned parent company ByteDance illegal within 45 days (as of last week), Microsoft looked like not only the best but the only potential suitor for a trade deal.
Microsoft had originally stated that if the purchase was to go ahead, it should be completed by September 15th, 5 days before Trump’s ban will come into effect. However, there’s a new competitor engaging in talks over purchasing the US arm of TikTok: Twitter.
An unlikely competitor, Twitter has much less money than Microsoft. However, it argues, due being much smaller, Twitter is “unlikely to face the same level of antitrust scrutiny as Microsoft or other potential bidders,” reports The Wall Street Journal, who heard from unnamed sources involved with the talks.
It’s unclear whether Twitter will be able to fork out what has been estimated as tens of billions of dollars to buy TikTok before the 45 days are up. However, a potential merge with the short-form video app would likely be a gamechanger for Twitter, which focuses on short-form written tweets. Especially after the platform infamously axed Vine in 2016.
In a company blog post earlier this month it was clear that Trump was at least partially on board with a potential Microsoft-TikTok deal, although he did request “a very big proportion of the sale price” for the US government. However, The President has his own problems with Twitter who have previously restricted, labeled and taken down some of his tweets that violated its policies (often relating to fake news and misinformation).
Whether TikTok will remain operational in the US by October 2020 and how is a big question, and the countdown is certainly on.