The Trump/TikTok dispute has got ever more heated as the week went on… and it seemed pretty serious when it all kicked off last weekend.
Microsoft’s deadline to buy the company is just 40 days away, so the stakes are high. And the price Microsoft will have to pay seems to have got higher, too. The FT [$$$]
reported yesterday that the deal is now to buy the whole of TikTok outside China, not just the North American, Australian, and New Zealand chunk. This makes a lot more sense, and will make the whole thing less complicated.
Still, FT sources say it could still take up to eight years for Microsoft to completely remove ByteDance code from TikTok, given how the app currently shares development with the Chinese version.
TikTok, for its part, was keen to reassure users that it wasn’t going anywhere. A video message
from US general manager Vanessa Pappas was well received, and the company has reportedly sealed a deal with the UK government
to base its new HQ in London. Then, after the new executive order essentially banning TikTok in the US unless its sold to an American company, TikTok threatened to sue
the Trump administration.
If it has to go, TikTok won’t be going quietly.
The app’s young fanbase has so far reacted with a mix of emotion and humour
. And if you think about it, a bunch of old politicians taking away their favourite app in the face of scant evidence that TikTok does anything worse than Facebook when it comes to user tracking, feels like the kind of injustice that deserves to stir up a few tears.
Despite potentially gaining from a TikTok ban, Mark Zuckerberg reportedly thinks
such a move would set “a really bad long-term precedent.”
Of course, there are rivals
waiting to steal TikTok’s users whether Microsoft saves the app or not. Speaking of which….