In the absence of the traditional summer controversy about Gibraltar, I recognize that the TikTok thing has become a soap opera that could be even funny, if not, in fact, so embarrassing. We have already been informing you, during the last weeks, about the news related to the progressive deterioration of relations between ByteDance, owner of TikTok, and the US administration. And it is that they have never really been good, but it was difficult to imagine, just a few months ago, that the showdown could get to this point. And Donald Trump’s bravado even less.
And I start from the basis of expressing my absolute respect for the presidency of the United States, because in the end it is nothing but the representation of more than 325 million citizens. However, respecting the institution is not synonymous with respecting the person who embodies it, and in this case exactly that situation occurs, because the policy of bravado and institutional extortion does not seem respectable to me, they have their origin in whatever country it is and whatever political system it is.
In a quick review of the situation, a little less than a month ago, some companies began to object to their employees using TikTok on their work devices. As a result, the Trump administration begins to pressure the company, with threats of veto in the country if it is not controlled by US capital. A pulse that intensifies with Trump demanding, already this week, a “very American” TikTok and, what is worse, demanding that part of the payment for the purchase-sale operation go to the country’s coffers. Are we shocked by the commissions here? Well, it seems that Trump has overtaken us on the right and in a continuous line.
The situation has prompted the Chinese government to respond to Trump’s bluster, stating that what his administration is perpetrating with TikTok is a theft. And although I do not feel any sympathy for the Chinese government, I have no choice but to agree, while wondering what would happen if this situation occurred the other way around. I have little doubt that the headlines in the Western press would serve to light bonfires throughout the Northern Hemisphere.
And, in between, and with the deadlines running, US companies weigh their positions and consider whether acquiring TikTok could be a profitable operation or, on the contrary, it could be an economic failure. So far, most of the spotlight is on Microsoft, especially after the conversation between Donald Trump and Satya Nadella this week. However, and how it has been known these last days, Bill Gates considers it too risky an operation.
In the opinion of the company’s founder, the social media market is particularly complexTherefore, an advantageous position today does not guarantee success in the future. We have already seen, in the past, enough services that lived through a period of splendor to, over time, fall into the most absolute of oblivion. From Fotolog to MySpace, the list of big drops is extensive, and nothing prevents TikTok, whether in the hands of ByteDance or Microsoft, from following those same steps.
And, on the other hand, it is true that everyone gives Microsoft as a virtual owner of TikTok, but that does not mean that I am the only interested American technology to gain control of this social network. According publishes Bloomberg, Twitter would also not only be interested, but also would have entered into conversations with ByteDance in this regard.
However, and unlike what happens with Microsoft, Twitter does not have the necessary capital to acquire TikTok, so the only way to carry out this operation would be look for partners who will be financially involved in it. Something that, given Trump’s demand that the buyer be “very American,” could be a major obstacle. In addition, and given the level of supervision that Trump has adopted over this operation, and his strained relationship with Twitter, it seems to me an important handicap for this possibility to come to fruition.
I find it striking, and I cannot fail to mention it, that Twitter is seriously considering the purchase of TikTok. And it is true that both services could fit quite well. However, if we do a little memory, this could look like Trapped in Time (AKA Groundhog Day), or is it that its managers no longer remember the Vine fiasco?
Be that as it may, the clock counts, there are a few weeks left for the purchase to take place or the TikTok veto to be executed and, I am very afraid, we still have many things to see about it.