Microsoft to Resume TikTok Acquisition Talks After Speaking With Donald Trump

Microsoft will continue discussions on potentially purchasing short-form video app TikTok after a conversation with President Donald Trump. According to a statement on the official Microsoft corporate blog on Sunday, the tech giant noted that following the conversation between the president and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella the company is "prepared to continue discussions to explore a purchase of TikTok in the United States." This comes after both the president declaring his intention to ban the Chinese-owned app in the US and various reports and speculation about Microsoft's intent to purchase it from its owner, ByteDance.

Per the statement, "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."

The statement also noted that Microsoft will ensure that the private date of TikTok's American users is transferred to and remains in the United States while also ensuring that any data stored or backed up outside of the US will be deleted post transfer. Additionally, the statement notes that Microsoft "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."

On Friday, Trump told reporters that he would act to ban TikTok in the United States over potential national security risks. At issue regarding TikTok is a question of data security. First launched by Chinese internet technology company ByteDance in 2017, TikTok first became available in the united states on August 2, 2018 following a merger with the short lip-sync video app Musical.ly. The TikTok app soon became popular in the United States, though last fall U.S. lawmakers began questioning how safe it and other Chinese-owned platforms are. At that time, Senators Chuck Schumer and Tom Cotton asked the U.S. intelligence community to assess the possible national security risks of TikTok, noting that the app (and others like it) could potentially be used to spy on American citizens or be in foreign influence campaigns.

It was also reported on Saturday that discussions by Microsoft to acquire TikTok from ByteDance had halted due to the threatened banned. While discussions are now set to continue, Microsoft notes in the statement that the conversations are preliminary.

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"These discussions are preliminary and there can be no assurance that a transaction which involves Microsoft will proceed," the statement reads. "We do not intend to provide further updates until there is a definitive outcome to our discussions."

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