Microsoft has confirmed it will continue discussions regarding the possible purchase of the U.S. operations of TikTok, saying that it wants to complete talks by September 2020.
In a blog post on Sunday, August 2, the company said that following discussions between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Donald Trump, the computer giant is intent on continuing negotiations with ByteDance, TikTok’s China-based parent company.
Trump shocked U.S.-based fans of the popular social media app on Friday when he told reporters aboard Air Force One that he intended to ban the software. But Microsoft’s post on Sunday suggests Trump could be open to a deal between ByteDance and Microsoft, which would ensure the app remained available in the United States.
With ByteDance based in China, Trump has voiced concerns over the app’s security, with fears that user data could potentially fall into the hands of the Chinese government. ByteDance has always claimed this could never happen.
In its post on Sunday, Microsoft said it “fully appreciates the importance of addressing the president’s concerns,” adding that 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.”
It continued: “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.”
Any deal would likely ensure that all private data of TikTok’s American users “is transferred to and remains in the United States,” Microsoft said. “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 noted that the discussions with ByteDance are preliminary and that “there can be no assurance that a transaction which involves Microsoft will proceed.” It told people not to expect any further updates “until there is a definitive outcome to our discussions.”
Microsoft added that while the talks with ByteDance continue, it will keep in close contact with the U.S. government, including with Trump.
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