Updated Aug 2, 2020 - Economy

Microsoft moves ahead with talks to buy TikTok after consulting Trump

Indian mobile users browses through the Chinese owned video-sharing 'Tik Tok' app on a smartphones in Amritsar on June 30, 2020.

Photo: Narinder Nanu/AFP via Getty Images

Microsoft announced Sunday it would pursue discussions with TikTok’s parent company ByteDance "in a matter of weeks" about buying the app in the U.S. following conversations between President Trump and the tech giant's CEO Satya Nadella.

Details: Microsoft said in a blog post the two firms are exploring a preliminary proposal that would see Microsoft buy the TikTok service in Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well as the U.S. "During this process, Microsoft looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United States Government, including with the President," the post noted.

"Microsoft appreciates the U.S. Government's and President Trump’s personal involvement as it continues to develop strong security protections for the country."
  • Microsoft said it is committed to acquiring TikTok "subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits" to the U.S., including the Treasury.
  • It may invite other American investors to participate on a minority basis in the potential purchase.
  • Microsoft hopes to complete discussions "no later than September 15."

Why it matters: Trump said Friday night that he planned to ban TikTok as India has done, over concerns that the app could be sharing U.S. user data with the Chinese government.

  • Axios' Dan Primack reported Saturday that Trump had a "deal on his desk," whereby Microsoft would lead an acquisition of 100% of TikTok's U.S. operations. Republican sources told Axios earlier Sunday that Trump may allow Microsoft to make the purchase if there's "complete separation" from the original Beijing-based company.

Of note: Microsoft said in its statement that, among other measures, 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."
— Excerpt from Microsoft's statement

Go deeper: What a Microsoft deal to buy TikTok would look like

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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