On Aug. 3, 2020, President Donald Trump threatened that the app TikTok would be banned from being used in the United States on Sep. 15 if an American-based company did not buy it. He stated that since ByteDance is a Chinese-based company and not American-based, they have grounds to ban the app in case of potential national security threats. Though some people claim the privacy and security of the country are far more important than social media, users from around the globe are concerned for its future. TikTok, an app where all types of creative people go to share their content, has over 500 million users spanning across the globe and 80 million in the U.S., most of which were devastated by President Trump’s announcement. As of Sep. 22, TikTok is still up and running to its fullest extent. So, who ended up buying TikTok and who were the contenders?
Two companies are in the running for purchasing the rights to the app: computer software company Oracle and tech giant Microsoft. The plans are to buy the app off of ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok at the moment. As of today, Microsoft is out of the race after their offer was rejected by ByteDance. It is unclear at the moment how much Microsoft offered to pay for the app; however, according to the New York Times, “numbers have ranged from $20 billion to $50 billion depending on what parts of TikTok will be sold.” As for the deal with Oracle, according to The Guardian, ByteDance has agreed to become technical partners with Oracle, where they would remain the majority owner of the app but would give Oracle control over user data.
Though there are two main companies fighting for the rights to the app, Walmart has also expressed interest in purchasing stake in the company. They stated that though they will not have the deal they previously discussed with Microsoft, they still want to invest in the company. However, the stakes are even higher because President Trump has declared that on Sunday, Sep. 20, TikTok will be pulled from Apple, Android and Google app stores, and by Nov. 12, the app with be banned from being used around the country. Though we don't know if that ban will be lifted once the app is purchased from an American-based company, this is still disappointing news for TikTok and its users.
Where do we go from here? Well, not all hope is lost for purchasing the app as Oracle and Walmart are trying to work out a deal that will be approved by all parties; however, they are working on a time crunch. Oracle is set to announce their partnership with TikTok; however, their partnership will not be structured. It is not confirmed if this partnership is going to prevent the upcoming ban on Nov. 20, but users of TikTok will have to wait to see what kind of deal President Trump and the participating companies are going to agree on.