Microsoft confirms talks to buy TikTok U.S. operations after receiving support from President Trump; aims to finish deal by Sept. 15
Microsoft is a step closer to acquiring the U.S. operations of the embattled Chinese social app, TikTok. The tech giant announced on Sunday that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke with President Trump about acquiring social video app TikTok. Microsoft confirmed that President Trump gave its parent company ByteDance 45 days to strike a deal. President Donald Trump had initially threatened to ban TikTok in the U.S.
Microsoft’s statements on Sunday marked the company’s first confirmation of talks to acquire the acquire embattled Chinese video app TikTok. The two companies have looked at Microsoft buying TikTok in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Other American investors may get involved in the acquisition too.
In a blog post on Sunday, Microsoft said: “Following a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Donald J. Trump, Microsoft is prepared to continue discussions to explore a purchase of TikTok in the United States.”
Microsoft also acknowledged the importance of addressing the President’s concerns. The software giant said it’s committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury.”
As part of the ongoing negotiations, Microsoft said it plans to create a new new structure that “would build on the experience TikTok users currently love, while adding world-class security, privacy, and digital safety protections.”
The operating model for the service would be built to ensure transparency to users as well as appropriate security oversight by governments in these countries. Among other measures, Microsoft would ensure that all private data of TikTok’s American users is transferred to and remains in the United States. To the extent that any such data is currently stored or backed-up outside the United States, Microsoft would ensure that this data is deleted from servers outside the country after it is transferred.
In a separate report, Reuters also confirmed the time frame agreed to by the president, citing two sources familiar with the ongoing negotiation. Microsoft said it plans to wrap talks with ByteDance by September 15.
“Microsoft will move quickly to pursue discussions with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, in a matter of weeks, and in any event completing these discussions no later than September 15, 2020. During this process, Microsoft looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United States Government, including with the President,” Microsoft said in a Sunday blog post.
Since the beginning of this year, TikTok has been facing scrutiny from the U.S. government over its handling of user data and amid larger tensions between the United States and China. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that the United States is “looking at” banning popular Chinese video app TikTok in the wake of the new law in Hong Kong.
TikTok, a social video app which allows users to create short videos with special effects and has become wildly popular with teenagers in the US. Earlier this year, TikTok was the third most popular app among US teens. Currently, TikTok has more than 800 million users worldwide.