The negotiations on taking control of TikTok operations in the US between Microsoft and ByteDance have reportedly stalled after US President Donald Trump said he would rather ban the popular video-sharing app.
ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, was willing to sell its stake in the US part of the business to Microsoft in order to keep its presence in the country, where it has around 100 million users. According to earlier reports, the deal, under which Microsoft would also be responsible for protecting all US user data, was at an “advanced” stage.
Both sides believed that giving the ownership to the US corporation would save TikTok from the looming ban – at least that’s White House signaled during the negotiations, according to the Wall Street Journal. However, Trump’s remarks on Friday caught the companies off guard as the president revealed he opposes the deal, the paper said, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Although Trump’s stance forced Microsoft and ByteDance to pause the TikTok acquisition deal, reports indicate that talks are not completely dead, while the president “has a deal on his desk,” according to Axios sources. The companies are now trying to get clarity about the White House’s position, and whether the app would keep normal operations in the US if the sale is finalized.
TikTok has refused to comment “on rumors or speculation,” after the media requested to shed light on the paused talks. However, the company is still “confident in the long-term success,” its spokesperson told Digital Trends.
Trump told reporters on Friday that he would ban TikTok through an executive order as early as Saturday. The Trump administration has been considering the move for weeks, citing national security concerns and claiming that the service may pass on the data it collects from Americans to the Chinese government.
TikTok has denied any links to Beijing, stressing that all its servers working for the American market are located in the US. In a statement on Saturday, TikTok US General Manager Vanessa Pappas dismissed privacy concerns once again, saying that the company is not going anywhere and plans to create 10,000 US jobs over the next three years.
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