Microsoft is in talks to acquire TikTok, the immensely popular social media app known for its fun short-form videos, in a move that could prevent the Trump administration from banning it from the US, according to reports.
The Seattle tech giant founded by Bill Gates is in discussions to buy TikTok in a deal valued in the tens of billions, according to Fox Business. The acquisition talks come as TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, has come under intense scrutiny by public officials concerned that the Chinese government is using the app to tap user data.
News of the talks come as Trump confirms that he’s looking at taking steps to ban the app in the US a move that Bloomberg reported could happen as soon as Friday.
“We’re looking at TikTok,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday. “There are a couple of options but a lot of things are happening, so we’ll see what happens. But we are looking at a lot of alternatives with respect to TikTok.”
An acquisition would instantly turn Microsoft a hot tech name in the 1990s that is now primarily fueled by its massive cloud computing arm into one of the biggest names in social media.
“This basically fell right into their lap,” Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives told The Post. “While the FAANG names are up to their eyeballs in regulatory scrutiny, Microsoft could really gain a significant advantage if they acquire this asset.”
Ives added that a marquee name like Microsoft would likely ease any US concerns about TikTok’s relationship to China.
“Microsoft is as American as apple pie,” he said.
It’s not just Trump who’s concerned about TikTok. Joe Biden’s presidential campaign this week ordered staffers to delete TikTok off of their phones, while the House of Representatives earlier this month voted to ban federal employees from downloading TikTok onto government-issued phones.