TikTok - Should Apple Buy It?

If TikTok ever ends up getting sold, I think it might be a good fit for Apple if they bought it. TikTok “creator culture” on steroids, and Apple always touts their creative side. Plus, Apple is in need of a new revenue source (hmm, does TikTok make any money?).

So, is Apple buying Tiktok a great idea or a terrible one? Thoughts?


I don’t think TikTok will sell.

The pressures on TikTok from the US are misplaced. The problem of social networks collecting personal data is a general problem that need to be treated as such, and not by harassing one particular one that happens to be chinese (the CEO is Singaporean).

Being guilty by an association, is not justice.

But they might become a victim of the geopolitical situation. Sadly.



Probably not - from what I hear - but IF it did sell, should Apple try to buy it? I think the sale would be more likely to pass FTC scrutiny than a buy from an existing mega social media player like Meta (FaceBook) or Google (YouTube).

Selling to Meta or Google would be a non-starter, at least at the FTC. They could probably throw enough sand in the gears to make it unpalatable.

Apple could likely buy it without too much problem, although the EU is all over them for their walled-garden; I don’t know how that might work out. Apple seems to prefer that sort of thing, and making TikTok “universal” rides directly opposite that ethos; that said maybe it’s time for them to “think different”, if I may borrow a phrase.


Why buy headaches? No, I don’t like the idea of miring Apple down with something already controversial… Pass…

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The only reason it’s controversial is that it’s owned (in part) by the Chinese government. It’s a social platform that has skyrocketed in popularity - and that’s hard to do. (And hard to kill: see Twitter). As Apple seems not on the verge of having anything consequential in the pipeline, and arguably hasn’t for 15 years (the iPhone is the last. The Watch, earbuds, and AirTag aren’t exactly roaring businesses. Too soon to tell on the glasses, but I have my doubts.) PS: The Apple Car project is dead, at a cost of about $10B. Seemingly not in the AGI game.

I’m also not saying I think they should, but some discussion/study would be appropriate. I remind that Steve Jobs bought Siri - which has since languished far behind Alexa and Google’s entries. Social media is huge, seems hard to dislodge (moat), and can be insanely profitable - even while pushing forward the technological side of things. What better way, for instance, to advance the glasses than to have a platform for “creators” to produce and share experiences and create a software platform for development of same?

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I’d missed, forgotten that Steve had snagged Siri, but I still use it from time to time, but not Alexa or Google, since Siri does more than I seem to need, the latest entry is in our RAV4, “Hey Toyota, turn on SiriusXM”, but that’s not often as Carply generally takes over and siri is at hand already… “Hey Siri, take me Home!” is handy…

Anyway, all I see is occasional videos of stuff being shredded, or cats being surprised, maybe dogs that won’t climb stairs… YouTube leads the way as far as video helpers… So, I’d pass on TikTok…

‘If it sells’ is like to say if the chinese does the stupid reciprocation game and forces Apple or Tesla or Starbuck or… to sell to a chinese company and to ask would it make sense for Bytedance to buy it?

The initiator of this legislation has not really thought it through, and many are simply following like sheeps.


That is blatantly false.

Also, there is no evidence that the chinese government is using any of this data to do anything.
When one thinks about it, it is a preposterous assertion that has been wiped into a frenzy.

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Exactly what I was thinking last night. TikTok could be the “killer platform” for the Vision Pro!

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OK, then what is the reason for the opposition?

Also there is no evidence that the Chinese government is using any of this data to do anything

That’s true. It’s also true that they control the algorithms, and could choose to use that to interfere with American politics, to promote certain agendas (think: lobbying about imports), and so on.

It’s unarguable that big tech has had the freest hand of any major industry in history to this point; only the EU has bothered to institute regs for privacy and other things, heck, they even forced Apple to use a common plug, something unthinkable in the Wild West of US technology firms.

It’s because it’s Chinese. Full stop. Of course if you give enough money to the right person, you can get them to completely reverse their position overnight. We have demonstrable proof of that, too, showing quite nicely, I think, the corruption in our own government.

(PS: US firms are not allowed to scoop up data on Chinese citizens, nor feed them social media, nor uncensored search engines, nor much of anything else. Why would the US not have similar rules for a foreign government which is so repressive to its own citizens and so blind in human rights issues?)


That is correct. But why?

we are not talking about TikTok anymore. The choice to scoop data from this or that individual is a capability that many governments have. They will always have a justification for it: terrorism, criminals, bad guys etc…What are the definitions of those terms? Who are the bad guys? who are the terrorists?..They don’t want to throw a blanket. That would simply be ineffective. They can get all the data they think are relevant to the security of the state. That goes for autocracies or democracies.
No, the problem is not there.

The problem is about trust and about common interests. What are the common interests the US and China can have? It used to be the demise of the Soviet Union. It is not so much that democracies triumphed but about geopolitical pressures.
Now that it is no more the common interests are less evident except for world peace which is an all-encompassing one.

As for TikTok, I don’t think it is fair to force a divestiture for intangible reasons.


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My 2 cents:

No, Apple shouldn’t buy Tiktok.

Forget about politics. Just because something is very popular doesn’t mean Apple should buy it or get in on the business. Also, just because Apple has been good at some things doesn’t mean that Apple will automatically be good at the idea-du-jour.

For every iPod, there’s an Apple Television. For every iPhone, there’s an Apple Car.

The clue to whether Apple should get in on social media might be their past attempts at social networks. Consider iTunes Ping, Apple’s attempt to do a music-centered social network. Or Game Center.

Forgot about them? Don’t or didn’t use them? Exactly.

I think Apple simply doesn’t care to build their own. Or buy their own. They can simply use other services to market their products.



We have lots of restrictions on selling to the Chinese (and to Russia, and North Korea, and Iran, and … ) All of those are for “intangible reasons”, after all, North Korea hasn’t launched a nuclear weapon at us. Yet. Neither has China, to my knowledge.

We don’t let our companies sell them the latest chips. Why is that? What is the “tangible” reason for that policy? We are likely to put import restrictions on the BYD cars they want to flood us with. What is the “tangible” reason for that?

The simple fact is that countries have interests, and allowing a foreign (and potentially hostile) nation to own a major means of communication can be inimical to the stability of a country. That’s why we also have never allowed foreign ownership of radio and television stations or networks.

TikTok is a major force in the US (and around the world.) It may or may not be used for ill in the future, but it will be hard to stop once it gets to that point. Citizen ownership seems a better path.

(Quick question: do you think the Founding Fathers would have countenanced British ownership of the fledgling US Press after the Revolutionary War? Why or why not?)

Huh. I hadn’t heard of that company. BYD = “Build Your Dream”. Apparently they might start selling them in the U.S. this summer. Pretty slick looking EV:

This will be misinterpreted, so I will just say it here, at the beginning. Tim Cook has been exceptional at running Apple since Steve’s death.

But that does not mean he has been perfect. (Fair to say neither was Jobs.) Apple has been coasting on the iPhone for the last decade, and the minor additions don’t really amount to a hill of beans. The Watch. The Earbuds. And … ???

What has gone wrong? Well, Siri has gone from first to third, behind Google and Alexa in the “smart home” department. Maybe 4th or 9th, depending on the list. There are no Apple smart home products to speak of, for that matter, a category which has grown tremendously over the years. Apple softwares mostly consist of iterations and updates, not groundbreaking or segment defining breakthroughs.

Tim had the chance to buy Tesla a decade ago at a quite favorable price - and passed. Meanwhile there’s been ten years of muddled development and a distinct lack of direction, at least according to the history laid out in Bloomberg this week. Tesla could have been the Apple car! Instead, we bought Beats. Anybody ever hear of Beats again?

I will say again, Tim has done a great job managing the legacies that Steve left behind. The stores are still vibrant, if pretty much unchanged. iOS continues apace, as does the Mac, but … the phone is beginning to face real competition, and pushback in China, which is not happy being shut out of advanced chips, and is taking it out wherever they can on whoever they can. That doesn’t augur well for growth going forward, especially for a pretty mature product. Likewise the iPad. Maybe the Watch has room, but it’s more a novelty, really, a the Goggles? Please.

Meanwhile the company has been all but absent from the AI race, and I doubt there are a lot of AI experts chomping at the bit to get to Apple for those no-longer-so-lucrative stock options where there are start-ups handing them out like candy at the corner drug store.

So where does Apple go from here? Just continue to milk the same cow forever? OK, but that’s not going to support much more than a utility P/E. What is the next big growth engine? Is there one? If it’s not the car, it’s not AI, it’s not the phone, it’s not the glasses, it’s not the watch, it’s not the tablet, what the heck is it?

I have no expectation that TikTok will be for sale anyway, and I would never advise Apple to try to start its own, it’s perilously difficult - as Google, Facebook, and yes, Apple can attest. But if one came up for sale, I’d say “take a long hard look. It could propel the company to the next level”, as though that’s a bad thing.


I agree. And I’d go further: if by some miracle TikTok gets sold, Apple should do everything in their power to buy it. Mr. Market will love it!

sure and so does China. That is the case but I am saying it is not in the interest of harmonious US-China relations. That is a choice but in my opinion a misdirected choice.
We can never know the intentions. But ascribing such intentions is a total misread. It is going to trigger the other side and start a mechanical process that will lead everyone down the drain…
That is what I am deploring.


The DOJ would go Ape sumpinsumpin Crazy.

Not until after Apple engaged in locking it down somehow. I don’t know what extra features Tiktok has (ads? apps? vendors?, etc.) so “locking it down” might not even make any sense. But I doubt the DOJ would care if Apple just bought Tiktok and let it do just what it does now.