Microsoft confirmed Sunday it is in talks with Chinese company ByteDance to acquire the US arm of its popular video app TikTok and has discussed with President Trump his concerns about security and censorship surrounding such an acquisition. In a statement, Microsoft said it and ByteDance have provided notice of their intent to explore a deal resulting in Microsoft owning and operating the TikTok service in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, the AP reports. "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," says a statement cited by NBC News. Trump, who on Friday said he would soon ban TikTok in the US and would not approve a Microsoft takeover, has talked with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, suggesting he may have reconsidered his stance on the takeover.
“Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President’s concerns," the company's statement says. "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 also agreed to divest all of its operations in an attempt to salvage the Microsoft deal, and Microsoft said in its statement that 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." Earlier Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo again spoke out against TikTok and other Chinese apps. (Read more TikTok stories.)