While Microsoft seems at first sight an unlikely candidate to acquire a big chunk of the English-speaking operations of TikTok, there are several reasons why the enterprise software and services business is having another go at the consumer market.

A corporate blog announced on Sunday that Microsoft and TikTok owner Bytedance are in talks about the Redmond, Washington-based company purchasing and operating the TikTok service in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

This follows President Trump last weekend threatening to ban TikTok in the US, citing the security and privacy concerns of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

Microsoft, however, promises to build on the existing TikTok experience “while adding world-class security, privacy, and digital safety protections” while also ensuring that all private data of the app’s American users is transferred to and remains in the US.

And it is those users and their data which are the key to any purchase. As The Verge noted: “Microsoft has all the data it needs on business usage of software, but it hasn’t been successful with pure consumer services in recent years, which has left the company with a gap of insight into consumer behaviors.”

But with TikTok, it could gain immediate access to 80 million young US mobile users, all of whom are both watching and creating videos on the platform which has the potential to develop into a serious competitor to social platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, or even YouTube and Facebook.

Aside from the advertising possibilities this raises, “it’s not hard to imagine watching a Call of Duty video on TikTok and then being able to click and instantly play the game as it streams to your phone via Microsoft’s xCloud service”, said The Verge.

Microsoft could also use TikTok to help test its work in fields such as artificial intelligence and augmented reality. 

Sourced from Microsoft, The Verge; additional content by WARC staff