Trump Says TikTok Will Shut Down Sept 15 ‘Unless Microsoft or Somebody Else Is Able to Buy It’

“I don’t mind whether it’s Microsoft or someone else, a big company, a secure company, a very American company buys it,” the president said

President Trump on Monday said he doesn’t have a problem with Microsoft or another large American company acquiring TikTok’s U.S. operations — but the deal needs to get done by mid-September or else he’ll ban the popular video app.

“I don’t mind whether it’s Microsoft or someone else, a big company, a secure company, a very American company buys it,” the president said at the White House on Monday. “It’ll close down on Sept. 15 unless Microsoft or somebody else is able to buy it and work out a deal, an appropriate deal, so the Treasury of the United States gets a lot of money.”

Trump’s comments come a day after Microsoft confirmed it is looking to buy TikTok’s U.S. business, along with its operations in New Zealand, Canada and Australia, from Bytedance, the app’s Beijing-based parent. In a blog post on the matter, Microsoft said CEO Satya Nadella had discussed the potential deal recently with the president. A deal would need to be reached by Sept. 15, the company said.

“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.”

For his part, Nadella has spearheaded several acquisitions since taking the reins at Microsoft in 2014. Perhaps most notably, Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for more than $26 billion in 2016. 

Bytedance bought Musical.ly, another popular lip-syncing app, in late 2017. Bytedance later merged the app with TikTok, its homegrown app allowing users to create short videos set to music. TikTok has since become one of the most popular apps in the world, boasting more than 800 million users and regularly sitting atop Apple and Google’s app store rankings.

Despite TikTok’s popularity, critics have grown increasingly concerned the app doubles as a data collection tool for China’s communist government. TikTok has denied ever sharing user data with Chinese authorities. But Stratechery’s Ben Thompson recently pointed out TikTok’s privacy policy explicitly says it “may share” user information “with a parent, subsidiary, or other affiliate of our corporate group,” which, based on how companies operate in China, means data can be sent to authorities.

Microsoft’s stock price has jumped 5.3% on Monday on the news, hovering near its all-time high of $216.38.