The dispute between US President Trump and the operators of the popular TikTok app is coming to a head. Now the developer Bytedance has taken the bull by the horns. Instead of accepting a sale of the US, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand business of TikTok, Bytedance wants to sue against the president’s order.
Trump wanted to force the sale
US president Donald Trump wants the developer Bytedance to sell his US business, among others. In doing so, the ears of two companies – Microsoft and Oracle – slapped tremendously. But Microsoft has been the number one interested party since the beginning of the sales negotiations. But as it now turns out, TikToks does not want to give up on developers. Bytedance’s sales negotiations are not based on the developer’s own initiative. Instead, Trump threatened to ban TikTok if the U.S. business does not go into the hands of a U.S. company. This decree is now the reason why Bytedance wants to file suit. The inventor of TikToks has announced that he intends to take legal action as early as next week. Bytedance explains this step with the fact that the US government has “not paid attention to facts” and also “tries to interfere in the negotiations of private companies”. As a result, TikTok was not able to find a suitable solution.
Trump fears for national security
How is it that Trump is “fighting” the app so popular with young people in such a way? According to the US President, he sees nothing less than the national security of the United States of America as being in danger. He justifies this with the app developers’ alleged proximity to the Chinese government. Trump is afraid that TikTok could pass on sensitive data of US citizens under pressure from the Chinese government. Accordingly, he called for a ban on the app. However, the suspensive ban is not to take effect until mid-September. Employees of Bytedance can only laugh at the president’s accusations. After all, the president “has not yet shown any evidence to support such accusations,” Vanessa Pappas (TikTok’s overseas business manager) told the news channel Bloomberg.
Three months time to sell
The only alternative to the ban would be for the US business to be taken over by a US company. The US president made this clear last week. He has given the operators of the app a deadline of three months. If they do not sell to a US company within this quarter, the app will simply be banned. The sale of the app also includes the transfer of all data that TikTok has collected so far on US citizens. In addition, TikTok is prohibited from having any possessions in the United States that are used to operate the app.
Sale as last lifeline
The US president’s idea puts the gun to TikTok’s chest. After all, they would have to give up their US business completely. But a sale would in turn eliminate all legal difficulties. Microsoft has taken the company’s tricky situation as an opportunity to negotiate the sale of the TikTok businesses in several countries at once. In addition to the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the tech group was also interested in TikTok in England and India. All negotiations have one origin – the current trade conflict between the USA and China. In this case TikTok seems to become the new Huawei. The United States clearly wants to increase the pressure on the Far East. It remains exciting to see how the tug-of-war will continue. At the latest after Bytedance’s complaint the conflict will enter a new round.