Trump backs Microsoft TikTok purchase - but with a tight deadline

Yolanda Curtis
August 4, 2020

The Chinese-owned social media app TikTok "is going to be out of business in the United States" on September 15, unless Microsoft or another American company concludes a purchase deal that satisfies the USA government, President Donald Trump said on Monday.

Microsoft's acknowledgement of the talks comes the same day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Trump might "take action in the coming days" to deal with "broad array of national security risks" stemming from the companies, that Washington believes, are in bed with Beijing.

The founder of ByteDance, which owns social media giant TikTok, said Monday his teams were working around-the-clock "for the best outcome" as talks on the sale of its United States operation to Microsoft continue, Chinese media reported.

In a Monday afternoon press conference, Trump added: "Whether it's Microsoft, or somebody else, the Chinese, what the price is, the United States should get a very large percentage of that price because we're making it possible".


In addition to the various security measures, Microsoft said it would ensure that all private data of TikTok's American users is transferred to the US.

"Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President's concerns", the Redmond-based firm said in a statement, adding that it is committed to "acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the US".

Microsoft purchased LinkedIn for $26.2bn in 2016.

Trade Adviser Peter Navarro hit out at Microsoft for enabling Chinese censorship and surveillance through products like Skype and its search engine Bing.


Many prominent Republicans, including House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, issued statements in support of a Microsoft acquisition of TikTok's USA operations. It said these discussions are "preliminary and there can be no assurance that a transaction will proceed". "But the United States should be reimbursed or should be paid a substantial amount of money". Some congressional aides are anxious about a backlash by younger voters against the party if Trump banned TikTok, which has 100 million American users. "It's probably easier to buy the whole thing than to buy 30 percent of it. ..."

He was called by Microsoft and allowed the company or another USA company to buy TikTok, the president said. Some congressional aides are anxious about a backlash by younger voters against the party if Trump banned TikTok, which has 100 million American users.

Still, U.S. lawmakers and administration officials have favored shutting down the application altogether to send a message to China after Beijing restricted American companies such as Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google.

"Should we trust any company that operates in China?"


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