Microsoft announced Sunday that it was still in talks of potentially acquiring US operations of the video app TikTok.
The company said in the statement that it plans to complete these “discussions” with the app’s parent company, ByteDance, “no later than September 15, 2020.”
The announcement comes after President Donald Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that his administration would ban the Chinese-owned app citing security concerns, sparking widespread concern and panic among creators on the popular social media platform.
According to a Friday pool report, Trump asserted he has the “authority” to ban TikTok “with an executive order or that.” However, it’s unclear what authority he has to ban the app completely in the US.
According to the statement, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke with Trump and will continue its pursuit in purchasing TikTok in the US.
“Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President’s concerns,” according to the statement. “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.”
TikTok is owned by internet technology company ByteDance, a Chinese-owned company headquartered in Beijing.
“The discussions with ByteDance will build upon a notification made by Microsoft and ByteDance to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS),” Microsoft wrote in the statement.
“The two companies have provided notice of their intent to explore a preliminary proposal that would involve a purchase of the TikTok service in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and would result in Microsoft owning and operating TikTok in these markets,” the company continued, adding that it may invite other American investors “on a minority basis.”
With the app’s growing prominence, US officials became concerned about the app’s ties to China and the foreign government’s access to user data and content moderation.
If Microsoft were to acquire TikTok in the US, the company said 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,” the company said in a statement.
The company went on to say that discussions are “preliminary,” and “there can be no assurance that a transaction which involves Microsoft will proceed.”