Microsoft, TikTok's Flirting Tames Trump's Anti-China Policy

TikTok Clock Logo Illustration AH db 2020

In accordance with this rollercoaster of a year, Microsoft is actually making progress toward a potential TikTok takeover. Mere hours after confirming M&A talks are happening, Microsoft is said to be doubling down on its pursuit of the social media platform. Because reliable sources believe Redmond already managed to secure a much more elusive target than TikTok – Trump’s composure.

I.e. in a rare display of a patience, the President gave Microsoft ample time to wrap up the deal. That’s according to a new report from Reuters citing no fewer than three White House insiders. Though, to be frank, what exactly constitutes as “sufficient” in this context remains a matter of some debate. But even the most skeptical analysts agree the deal is theoretically achievable by the end of summer. Coincidentally, that’s exactly how long Trump is willing to wait.

Trump continues to defy expectations – for better or worse

For better or worse, the incumbent President hence continues to defy expectations in every sense of that term. Sure, critics would describe fickleness as one of Trump’s fundamental character – let alone presidential – traits. But that philosophical volatility has now transcended the limits of a mere burden on policy or personality. With the help of Microsoft’s insatiable desire for shareholder value, it became a phenomenon sui generis. It’d otherwise be difficult to explain Trump’s latest 180; a reversal so saintly that it gave a new lease on (stateside) life to a full-fledged “national security threat” – which is how the Trump administration has been describing TikTok until 72 hours ago.


Microsoft & TikTok aren’t that crazy of a match

In reality, the backtracking is simply a result of Satya Nadella’s deal-making prowess. Because insiders reveal Microsoft’s CEO convinced President Trump to go against his killer instinct following but a single discussion. Redmond consequently has until September 15th to wrap up what was widely seen as an impossibly optimistic takeover target just sveral days ago. Which seems like a fittingly random end to Trump’s presidency, at least as far as the tech industry is concerned.

Meanwhile, the ongoing tensions between China and most of the Western Hemisphere continue to weigh heavily on the video-sharing platform. India’s temporary ban has, alone, already cost TikTok billions of dollars. The predicament thus unsurprisingly left the Chinese company on some rather shaky shaky ground; quivery enough to warrant a stress test from Microsoft’s M&A division – which is pretty much what this takeover attempt comes down to. That and Trump defying expectations, of course.