Splainer

Friday, August 28 2020


Dive In

Before I am an athlete, I am a black woman. And as a black woman I feel as though there are much more important matters at hand that need immediate attention, rather than watching me play tennis… Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach… I'm exhausted of having a new hashtag pop up every few days and I'm extremely tired of having this same conversation over and over again. When will it ever be enough?

That’s Naomi Osaka announcing her decision to withdraw from the semifinals of  a major US tournament. She was responding to the police shooting of Jacob Blake—who was shot seven times in his back in Wisconsin. Tournament organisers soon followed suit and announced their decision to pause play for a day. Osaka has now agreed to participate in the now-postponed semifinal. Illustration: Parth Savla

Big Story

TikTok has an eventful day

The TLDR: It was a day of big developments for the company. Its CEO Kevin Mayer resigned, and Walmart (yes, Walmart!) announced its interest in buying its US operations—likely in partnership with Microsoft. All this while TikTok is suing to stop President Trump from banning the app. For Indians, a Walmart-owned TikTok USA is an interesting new wrinkle—given the heated rumours that Reliance is in talks to buy TikTok India. How will that work? 

 

A quick recap 

Here are the basic deets on how we got here (We did a full explainer on TikTok’s troubles)

 

  • TikTok is owned by a $140 billion Chinese company called ByteDance whose CEO Zhang Yiming is a former Microsoft engineer. 
  • Since its launch in 2017, TikTok has become a global powerhouse spreading across 150 markets worldwide, offered in 75 languages. 
  • But the Chinese government’s souring relationships with a whole lot of countries has jeopardised its once-bright future. 
  • The app has been banned in India. Japan and Australia have made noises about following suit. 
  • Trump has threatened to ban it—giving Bytedance until November 12 to find a buyer for its US operations or get the hell out. The reason: TikTok has vast access to American users and could share that information with Beijing—which poses a national security threat.
  • In response, TikTok filed a lawsuit to block the ban claiming that Trump issued the order "without any evidence to justify such an extreme action, and without any due process."

 

List of suitors: Some of heaviest hitters have lined up to woo ByteDance for TikTok’s hand. Rumoured suitors include Twitter and Oracle. Walmart first planned to make its bid in partnership with Google’s parent company Alphabet and/or venture mega-fund SoftBank. But it is now joining hands with Microsoft—which remains the favourite in this race.

 

The selling price: is rumoured to be anywhere between $20-30 billion, and the deal is likely to include TikTok’s operations in New Zealand, Canada and Australia, as well.

 

First, the resignation

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In today’s edition

Headlines That Matter

  • Hurricane Laura smashes through US coastline
  • India hits a new Covid record
  • And the International Booker prize goes to…
  • Good dope for stressed elephants

 

Smart and Curious

  • Yes, there is such a thing as ‘doomsturbating’
  • Behold the Brokini!
  • Declassified footage of the biggest nuclear bomb of all time

 

Life Advisory

  • A short list of khana delivery options
  • A short list of handy guides
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