CNBC is saying that Oracle and Microsoft are “far ahead” of other companies reportedly in the race for the popular but controversial service, which has been under a cloud in the U.S. in particular with Donald Trump having signed an updated executive order on August 15 forcing ByteDance to sell the platform within 90 days. ByteDance has said the order was issued “without any due process” and that it would “pursue all remedies” to stop itself from being shutdown.
Former Disney exec Kevin Mayer is CEO of TikTok. Even though the service is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, it is not available in the Middle Kingdom. Fears persist in the West, however, that the platform can be used by the Chinese government to mine users’ data. The company insists its data is stored outside of the country, but it has ties with Chinese authorities. The platform has also been banned in India since June after tensions between the country and China.
Twitter is another company said to have held talks over a deal. Microsoft is reportedly exploring buying TikTok’s UK operations as well as the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The Larry Ellison-founded Oracle is reportedly looking at the latter quartet.
During the pandemic, TikTok usage has surged past its rivals, with a recent report saying its users spent an average of 58 minutes on the platform per day, above Instagram and Snapchat. Two weeks ago, with TikTok facing shutdown in the U.S., Facebook launched a rival, Reels, in 50 countries.
Also today, the company set up a new website titled “The Last Sunny Corner of the Internet” on which it says it is looking to “set the record straight” by defending itself against accusations of compromising user security. “TikTok has never provided any US user data to the Chinese government, nor would it do so if asked. Any insinuation to the contrary is unfounded and blatantly false,” text on the website reads.