Donald Trump has given ByteDance management until September 15 to sell TikTok’s US operations. A new deal that could well do Microsoft’s business.
When Donald Trump sees red, it is quickly known. While he has just found a new target with the very popular Chinese social network application TikTok, owned by the Chinese ByteDance, the American president is threatening: if it is not sold before September 15, it will no longer be able to continue to operate in the United States.
As a reminder, the White House has for many months been accusing the application, which is very popular among 15-25 year olds, of sending information back to China and of being used for surveillance purposes by the Chinese regime, which the ByteDance company has always denied.
Indeed, the Chinese company claims that its data centres are located entirely outside China and that none of its data is subject to Chinese law. While ByteDance operates a separate service called Douyin to serve the Chinese market, it operates its own data centres in the USA and claims to store all data of US users in the USA, with backup redundancy in Singapore, according to the company.
While refusing to sell the application to a U.S. landlord, the current White House tenant turned around on Sunday after an interview with Google CEO Satya Nadella. The latter expressed his willingness to continue discussions that could lead to the takeover by Microsoft of TikTok’s U.S. activities.
Microsoft to the rescue
What was still just a vague rumour suddenly took a different turn when Microsoft stated in a blog post that it would “commit to acquiring TikTok subject to a full security review and provide appropriate economic benefits to the United States, including the US Treasury.
According to the U.S. giant’s staff, Microsoft plans to own and operate TikTok in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Microsoft may invite other investors to take a minority stake in the purchase.
Microsoft would make sure to add “world-class security, privacy and digital security protections,” says its management. It will ensure that all private data of U.S. TikTok users will be transferred to and remain in the United States. In the event that any of this data is currently stored or backed up outside the United States, Microsoft management has stated that it will be deleted from servers located outside the country after transfer.
Microsoft management plans to continue discussions with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, “in a few weeks” and will complete them by 15 September 2020 at the latest, officials said. Enough to reassure the U.S. president.