According to the New York Times, ByteDance is being forced to sell TikTok's US business by the Trump administration, which claims it is all about it being a national security threat.
An executive order signed by Trump on 6 August means a sale must go through before 15 Septemeber but TikTok sued the U.S. government on Monday, alleging it was deprived of due process. The lawsuit could delay the ban, giving TikTok more time to get a better deal for the sale.
But apparently before the deal talks began, Microsoft is said to have been reluctant to do any kind of large TikTok acquisition, due in part to the rising tensions between the US and China. Its cunning plan was to take a minority stake and force the company to leave the Amazon cloud and get onto its Azure service. TikTok could also be integrated with Microsoft's $7 billion advertising business.
But then Trump said he'd rather Microsoft, valued at $1.6 trillion, buy the app that is used by 100 million Americans in its entirety.
"I think buying a third is too complicated", Trump told reporters in the Cabinet Room at the White House. After all, why wouldn't Microsoft listen to him after all his business success?
Microsoft is now competing with Trump's chums at Oracle although Netflix and Twitter have also been contacted by bankers and investors.