Microsoft’s offer to buy the US operations of hugely popular video-sharing app TikTok has been rejected, paving the way for Oracle to secure a last-minute deal.
This development is a fallout of the 15 September deadline given by US President Donald Trump for the Chinese-owned app to sell or shut down.
Trump administration claims that TikTok and other Chinese apps are threats to US security.
Microsoft and Oracle are ahead in the race to acquire TikTok from Chinese owner ByteDance.
Accirding to the BBC, TikTok is a hugely popular video sharing app – which has been downloaded 2 billion times globally – where people make and upload 15 second clips.
The Wall Street Journal and Reuters reported that Oracle, which sells database technology and cloud systems to businesses, had won the bidding war, citing people familiar with the matter.
On Sunday Microsoft announced that “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.”
“We look forward to seeing how the service evolves in these important areas,” its statement added.
This paves the way for Oracle, who Mr Trump said would be “a great company” to take over TikTok’s US operations last month.
TikTok is now the second example of a high profile Chinese company that has become caught up in the US China tech cold war.
Huawei was first – getting embroiled in a battle that has now effectively seen it crippled from doing any business in the US or buying any parts that have US components in them.
The Trump administration says this is about levelling the playing field and national security – protecting Americans’ data and privacy.
But Beijing says this is the US being a bully – dissatisfied with its lack of progress in key technology areas, it is worried about losing ground, and that’s why it has either tried to block Chinese tech or acquire it – in the case of TikTok.
It’s still not clear though what form TikTok will have if indeed it ends up in American hands – and how popular it will remain with American users.
It’s unclear what will happen to the popular video-sharing app which has around 100m active users in the US.
Neither Microsoft or Oracle are seen as the most obvious suitors for TikTok, which has a predominantly young audience who share short-form lip-synching videos.
Any deal will still need approval from a number of interested parties including the US and Chinese governments, ByteDance and investors.
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