Confirming the widely reported news that it is planning an acquisition of TikTok, Microsoft today released a blog post saying it is indeed pursuing the purchase. Apparently there have been direct discussions between CEO Satya Nadella and US President Donald Trump, with Microsoft promising to close all discussions on the purchase by September 15th.
In a blog post published early today, Microsoft says, “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.”
Satya Nadella’s direct discussions with President Trump will basically weed out any possible roadblocks. There have been news before that the Redmond giant is looking to acquire TikTok from Bytedance, but may face regulatory hurdles, such as a ban through an executive order by Trump. But with Nadella and Trump talking this out directly, perhaps TikTok may survive after all.
Additionally, Microsoft has also invited other “American Investors” to be a part of the deal if they wish to. “Microsoft may invite other American investors to participate on a minority basis in this purchase”, said the blog post.
There however is a catch to this situation. The acquisition, if it does happen, will only put TikTok under Microsoft for the markets of the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Apparently, for the rest of the markets, Tiktok will continue to remain a Bytedance owned company. Hence, a possible re-entry of the app in its erstwhile second largest market India, look bleak for now.
Microsoft said that it will keep the base design of TikTok intact since users “love” the same. However, there is a major security overhaul planned. It added, “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.”
Added measures for security and data protection would include all private data of TikTok’s American users being transferred to and remaining permanently 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.