Over the weekend reports suggested Microsoft had lost on its attempt to purchase the US operations of massive social media platform TikTok, with Oracle seeing its bid successfully accepted.
According to the state-owned CGTN, however, this is not the case, with the publication noting that both companies were unsuccessful in their attempts.
This as sources close to ByteDance, which owns TikTok, say that the company is unwilling to part with its valuable algorithm, which makes machine learning-based recommendations for users on the platform.
“The car can be sold, but not the engine,” an unnamed source told the South China Morning Post earlier today.
“The company (ByteDance) will not hand out source code to any US buyer, but the technology team of TikTok in the US can develop a new algorithm,” the source added.
While we understand ByteDance’s reluctance to relinquish any IP, given that the Trump presidency has shown no willingness to extend its 20th September deadline for a sale of the firm, it remains to be seen how TikTok can continue to operate without a ban being imposed.
As such if any deal were to be struck with a US company between now and 20th September, it would likely have to be without the use of the TikTok algorithm. That said, without the algorithm, much of the functionality, and more importantly value, for a prospective buyer, would also be gone.
With ByteDance yet to officially comment on the matter at the time of writing, it looks like this sage is set to drag on.