News broke at the end of last week that President Trump was set to ban TikTok and force the sale of its US operations. Microsoft was named as an interested party but Trump didn’t like the idea initially. Now it looks like Trump may be open to entertaining a Microsoft acquisition after all while WeChat has been named as another Chinese app threatened to be banned.
Reports about the White House looking into banning TikTok and other Chinese-based apps/services have been floating around for several weeks. Trump is expected to make a formal announcement soon and in the meantime, Microsoft has shared a public update on its interest in buying TikTok’s US business and ongoing conversations with Trump and TikTok’s parent company ByteDance.
Following a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Donald J. Trump, Microsoft is prepared to continue discussions to explore a purchase of TikTok in the United States.
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.
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.
Microsoft also said in the event an acquisition would happen, it would “build on the experience TikTok users currently love, while adding world-class security, privacy, and digital safety protections.”
In closing, Microsoft said that it wouldn’t be giving any more updates on the potential deal until something concrete happens.
Ahead of President Trump giving a formal announcement about TikTok, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shared that Tencent’s WeChat would also be part of the ban (via CNBC).
The State Department chief cited TikTok and WeChat, a Chinese messaging app, saying they were “feeding data directly to the Chinese Communist Party.”
We should learn more in an official annoucement soon:
“…And so he will take action in the coming days with respect to a broad array of national security risks that are presented by software that is connected to the Chinese Communist Party.”