President Donald Trump has demanded that the USA treasury should get a substantial chunk of the TikTok sale proceeds, as he set September 15 as the deadline for the popular Chinese short video app to be out of business in the country unless it is bought by an American company.
He added that the company has "always been committed to ensuring user data security, as well as the platform neutrality and transparency".
"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", Microsoft wrote in the blog post.
"At the end of the day, Microsoft is a US company and is subject to the USA government surveillance programs, which allow unchecked access to the personal information held by private companies". Not only is Microsoft interested in pieces of ByteDance-owned TikTok, but there is the added stress of negotiating a deal in the midst of political squabble between China and the U.S.
It's a little bit like the landlord-tenant [relationship].
Yet, the President also believes Microsoft should pay the US government a cut of whatever price it ultimately agrees to pay for TikTok.
In its statement, Microsoft said it may invite other American investors to participate on a minority basis in the purchase of TikTok.
Commenting generally on the situation, a spokesperson from the Chinese company said: "TikTok US user data is stored in the US, with strict controls on employee access". "In terms of a foreign company agreeing to sell assets to a US company subject to antitrust review, I can't see any logical basis under which Treasury or the White House would be negotiating elements of the financial portions of the deal". "TikTok will be here for many years to come".
"[Microsoft is] clearly a multi-national company that's made billions in China, that - that enables Chinese censorship through things like Bing and Skype", he told CNN on Monday.
Paving the way for Microsoft's plan to purchase all or part of TikTok, President Trump said he supported such a deal on Monday.
However, amid rising US-China tensions, the White House has threatened to ban TikTok and other Chinese-owned apps, citing national security risks. The company also said it's discussed with President Trump his concerns about national security and censorship implications of such an acquisition.
"We're updating our policies on misleading content to provide better clarity on what is and isn't allowed on TikTok", the company said on Wednesday. "If ByteDance believes that it is possible for that to happen in the future - which is reasonable since it did in India - we could see Microsoft getting a bargain..."
In his second missive to the troops in as many days, the billionaire entrepreneur said a government probe into the company's 2017 purchase of Musical.ly, - TikTok's progenitor - was meant to spur a complete shutout.
Trump and other USA officials claimed that TikTok poses a national risk because of the personal data that it handles.
The details: Zhang said the USA regulatory investigation of his company's 2017 purchase of Musical.ly, which began in November, was not really meant to force a sale - which would have been "unreasonable" but "within a legal framework".
"If Canada were to be involved, I think that it may be less around concerns about there being two TikToks. and more around are these the kinds of norms we want to be propagated", he said.