Microsoft confirmed on Sunday that it has held talks with ByteDance to acquire its video-sharing app TikTok in the US and it intends to conclude the talks by September 15.
Microsoft's statement comes two days after media reports said that it was interested in acquiring the app. Soon after those reports emerged, US President Trump said that he opposed the idea and would move to ban the app in the US.
Microsoft said following a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Trump, Microsoft is prepared to continue discussions to explore a purchase of TikTok in the United States.
Microsoft will move quickly to pursue discussions with ByteDance in a matter of weeks, and in any event completing these discussions no later than September 15, 2020, the company said.
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.
Microsoft may invite other American investors to participate on a minority basis in this purchase.
This new structure would build on the experience TikTok users currently love, while adding world-class security, privacy, and digital safety protections. The operating model for the service would be built to ensure transparency to users as well as appropriate security oversight by governments in these countries.
Among other measures, Microsoft 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.