Microsoft says it’s not acquiring parts of TikTok’s operations, after its bid was rejected by TikTok owner ByteDance. After weeks of talks and very public back and forths involving the Trump administration, Microsoft ultimately failed in its attempts to acquire TikTok.
“ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok’s US operations to Microsoft,” says Microsoft in a statement. “We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users, while protecting national security interests. To do this, we would have made significant changes to ensure the service met the highest standards for security, privacy, online safety, and combatting disinformation, and we made these principles clear in our August statement. We look forward to seeing how the service evolves in these important areas.”
Microsoft originally confirmed last month that it was pursuing a deal to buy TikTok’s operations in the US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Reports also suggested Microsoft might be considering buying all of TikTok’s global operations, with the Financial Times suggesting talks around this particular deal were at the “preliminary” stage.
Microsoft’s failed bid leaves the door open for Oracle as a potential buyer. Reports last month suggested Oracle was in the running for a TikTok acquisition, and earlier today Axios reported that Larry Ellison’s enterprise software giant had leapfrogged Microsoft for the deal.
Any potential deal with Oracle isn’t without complications, though. President Trump initially threatened a September 15th deadline for a TikTok sale, before setting November 12th as the deadline, with the threat of a potential ban. That’s led to TikTok suing the Trump administration over an alleged lack of due process, and the potential of China blocking a deal or allowing it to be sold without its key algorithm.
It’s not clear exactly what will happen to TikTok in the US now that Microsoft has been unsuccessful in its bid. Oracle looks like the most likely candidate, and it may serve as more of a cloud services provider rather than a parent company with direct control. Nothing has been simple with this ongoing TikTok saga, so it’s reasonable to expect some more twists and turns in the coming days and weeks.