Displaying items by tag: TikTok

TikTok rejects Microsoft, chooses Oracle as “tech partner”

Written on Monday, 14 September 2020 07:25

ByteDance has rejected Microsoft’s offer for its TikTok operations in the US and has reportedly chosen Oracle as “trusted tech partner”.

The Oracle bid would next need approval from the White House and Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, with both parties under the belief it would meet US data security concerns.

TikTok has been at the center of a diplomatic storm between the US and China, and President Donald Trump has given Americans a deadline to stop doing business with TikTok's Chinese parent company ByteDance – effectively compelling a sale of the app to a US company.

Microsoft had indicated at the beginning of August that it was interested in acquiring TikTok's US operations, but later announced that bid had been rejected.

Microsoft expressed disappointment in the rejection and said it was confident its proposal would have been good for TikTok users, while protection national security interests. 

"ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok's US operations to Microsoft," the US tech giant said in a statement.

 "We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok's users, while protecting national security interests," it added.

Under the deal with Oracle, at least some of ByteDance’s existing investors will get stakes in the venture. These investors include Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic. Meanwhile, Walmart said in a statement that it is thinking of joining Oracle and that it is still in talks with ByteDance “leadership and other interested parties.” 

Sources said Oracle is mainly interested in TikTok to boost its cloud-computing business. For Microsoft, owning TikTok would have helped the company build its presence among everyday consumers, and given it more data on young users.

Downloaded 175 million times in the United States, TikTok is used by as many as a billion people worldwide to make quirky, short-form videos on their cellphones. It has repeatedly denied sharing data with Beijing.

TikTok meanwhile has filed a lawsuit challenging the crackdown by the US government, contending that Trump's order was a misuse of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act because the platform is not "an unusual and extraordinary threat."

Controversially Trump has demanded that the US government get a cut of any deal, which critics contend appears unconstitutional and akin to extortion.

Bidding for TikTok comes amid a broader deterioration of relations between the world's top two economies in recent months, with the US and China locked in fierce recriminations over trade disputes, human rights and the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

Published in Finance

TikTok’s CEO quits amid growing political tensions

Written on Thursday, 27 August 2020 06:18

TikTok’s CEO said he has quit the company as tensions soar between Washington and Beijing over the Chinese-owned video platform.

Kevin Mayer said that he was resigning after the company came under sustained pressure from the Trump administration over its alleged ties to China.

Mayer's resignation comes days after TikTok filed a lawsuit challenging a crackdown by the US government over claims the wildly popular social media app can be used to spy on Americans.

TikTok has been at the center of a diplomatic storm between the US and China, and President Donald Trump signed an executive order on August 6 giving Americans 45 days to stop doing business with TikTok's Chinese parent company ByteDance, effectively setting a deadline for a sale of the app to a US company.

TikTok, which has been downloaded 175 million times in the US and more than a billion times around the world, argued in the suit that Trump's order was a misuse of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act because the platform, on which users share often playful short-form videos, is not "an unusual and extraordinary threat."

Former Disney executive Mayer, who has only been in the post since May, said in a letter to staff that the "political environment has sharply changed" in recent weeks.

"Against this backdrop, and as we expect to reach a resolution very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to leave the company," he wrote.

"I understand that the role that I signed up for, including running TikTok globally, will look very different as a result of the US administration's action to push for a sell-off of the US business."

TikTok said in a statement: "We appreciate that the political dynamics of the last few months have significantly changed what the scope of Kevin's role would be going forward, and fully respect his decision. We thank him for his time at the company and wish him well."

Published in Reports

Oracle joins Microsoft, Twitter in race to buy TikTok

Written on Tuesday, 18 August 2020 08:08

Software giant Oracle is weighing a bid to join Microsoft and Twitter in the race to acquire part of TikTok, it is reported.

Oracle is “seriously considering” buying TikTok US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, according to the report.

The Financial Times sources added that ByteDance is also working with investment firms such as General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital to find a buyer. 

The US government has ordered TikTok parent ByteDance to sell off its US operations within 90 days. Under the emergency order, the US government will also have the final say on who gets to buy the Chinese company’s operations

China meanwhile slammed Washington for using "digital gunboat diplomacy" in the TikTok case.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said TikTok had done everything required by the US, including hiring Americans as its top executives, hosting its servers in the US and making public its source code.

But the app has been "unable to escape the robbery through trickery undertaken by some people in the US based on bandit logic and political self-interest," Zhao said at a regular press conference.

TikTok separately announced an alliance with music distribution platform UnitedMasters, playing to budding artists and their fans despite US steps to bar the popular app.

The deal to integrate UnitedMasters into TikTok promised to build on a trend of the platform being a way for musicians to be discovered by posting short-clip videos.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Published in Finance

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against video sharing app TikTok by a university student in California who claims that the app has been collecting large amounts of private user data and storing it in China.

Published in Apps