Microsoft announced on Sunday that following discussions between its CEO and President Donald Trump, it is moving forward with talks to buy TikTok from Chinese parent company ByteDance.
Earlier Friday, Bloomberg reported that Trump was considering an executive order that would demand TikTok’s Beijing-based corporate owner, ByteDance, divest ownership of the app and sell it to an American company. Microsoft quickly emerged as the top contender to acquire the video-sharing service; however, Trump told reporters late Friday that he didn’t support such a sale.
After pausing acquisition plans when the president suggested a total US ban of the app known for its quirky short video, Microsoft said Sunday it will continue talks with ByteDance and will decide whether or not to complete the sale by Sept. 15. If completed, Microsoft would take over ownership of TikTok’s service in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Australia. The company says it will not provide further updates until talks are completed and that there is no guarantee that a deal will actually be finalized.
“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 company said in its statement.
“Microsoft would ensure that all private data of TikTok’s American users is transferred to and remains in the United States,” the company went on. “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.”
As TikTok has grown in popularity, particularly with Gen Z users, politicians on both sides of the aisle have spoken in support of either banning the site’s use in the U.S. or taking it out of ByteDance’s hands.
Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Lindsay Graham have spoken in support of the Trump Administration’s plans, while Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi have also voiced their concerns over the app. Bloomberg reported this past week that staffers for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign have been ordered to delete TikTok from their phones, and the Democratic and Republican National Committees have warned their state parties and campaigns to avoid using the app.