Microsoft is in talks to acquire TikTok, the immensely popular social media app known for its hilarious short 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 talks to buy TikTok in a deal worth tens of billions, according to Fox Business. The acquisition talks come as TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, has come under intense scrutiny by public officials concerned that the Chinese government is using the app to take advantage of user data.
The news of the talks comes as Trump confirms he is considering taking steps to ban the app in the U.S., a move Bloomberg reported could happen as soon as Friday.
“We are watching TikTok,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday. “There are a couple of options, but a lot is happening, so we will see what happens. But we are looking for many alternatives regarding TikTok.”
An acquisition would instantly make Microsoft a high-tech name in the 1990s that is now primarily fueled by its massive arm of cloud computing as one of the biggest names on social media.
“This basically fell into his lap,” Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives told the Post. “While FAANG’s names are at eye level in regulatory scrutiny, Microsoft could really gain a significant advantage by acquiring this asset.”
Ives added that a marquee name like Microsoft will likely alleviate any concerns from the US about TikTok’s relationship with China.
“Microsoft is as American as apple pie,” he said.
It is not just Trump who is concerned about TikTok. Joe Biden’s presidential campaign this week ordered employees to remove TikTok from their phones, while the House of Representatives earlier this month voted to ban federal employees from downloading TikTok on government-issued phones.