The rumors were right–Microsoft has now confirmed that it is pursuing an acquisition of the viral app TikTok. A spokesperson for the Xbox company told GameSpot sister site CNET that Microsoft is “committed to acquiring TikTok” pending a review of the “security” of the app.
US President Donald Trump has expressed concerns about TikTok, and in particular its ownership by a Chinese company, ByteDance. Trump has suggested that he may attempt to order ByteDance to divest its US ownership, and that’s where Microsoft could come in.
Trump and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently spoke about the matter, and Microsoft says it will work to address Trump’s issues with the app. Microsoft will continue to work with the US government and Trump during the acquisition discussions, the statement said.
“Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President’s concerns,” a spokesperson for Microsoft said. “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,” the statement added. “During this process, Microsoft looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United States Government, including with the President.”
According to Reuters, ByteDance has agreed to sell its US operations, and it appears Microsoft may be the company to buy it. Microsoft said it wants to acquire TikTok’s operations in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
Microsoft has also said it will implement “world-class security, privacy, and digital safety protections” for TikTok, should it emerge as the new owner of the company.
“Among other measures, Microsoft would ensure that all private data of TikTok’s American users is transferred to and remains in the United States,” Microsoft said. “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.”
There is no word yet on the fee that Microsoft would pay to acquire TikTok’s US operations, but it would likely be a giant sum given the huge popularity and scale of the platform.
TikTok recently hired former Disney executive Kevin Mayer to head up its US operations as CEO.
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