Microsoft announced on Sunday they are still in talks to acquire the US operations of popular video-sharing app TikTok.
The company said in a statement that it plans to complete discussions with TikTok parent company ByteDance by September 15.
The blogpost came after US President Donald Trump told reporters on the Air Force One that his government would ban the app for its ties with China. He cited privacy and data security concerns as the main reason. TikTok creators panicked after hearing the news.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that the president was set to announce strong action against TikTok.
“President Trump has said, ‘Enough,’ and we’re going to fix it,” Pompeo told Fox News.
“And so he will take action in the coming days with respect to a broad array of national security risks that are presented by software connected to the Chinese Communist Party,” he added.
Trump said on Friday that he had the say-so to ban TikTok with an executive order. It seems he referred to emergency economic powers. We have yet to see how exactly he will enforce the ban.
A second chance
Microsoft’s statement said their CEO Satya Nadella spoke with Trump. After which, the firm would continue its pursuit of a TikTok acquisition.
“Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the president’s concerns. It is committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury,” the statement said.
ByteDance, an internet tech firm based in Beijing, owns TikTok.
“The discussions with ByteDance will build upon a notification made by Microsoft and ByteDance to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS),” Microsoft added in the statement.
“The two companies have provided notice of their intent to explore a preliminary proposal that would involve a purchase of the TikTok service in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and would result in Microsoft owning and operating TikTok in these markets,” the firm continued.
Microsoft said it might invite other American investors to invest in minority stakes.
US officials became anxious that China might access user data and influence content moderation, as TikTok’s userbase continues to grow.
Microsoft said that if it were to acquire the US operations of the app, it 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,” the company said in the statement.
The firm added that talks were preliminary. They could not assure that the transaction will push through come September.