NATIONWIDE — Microsoft announced in a blog post Sunday that the company is "prepared to continue discussions to explore a purchase of TikTok in the United States" after a conversation between Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella and President Donald Trump.
"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," the company wrote in a blog post.
Previously, President Trump said he would take action to ban TikTok, a popular Chinese-owned video app that has been a source of national security and censorship concerns. Trump's comments came after published reports that the administration is planning to order China’s ByteDance to sell TikTok.
“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump told reporters Friday on Air Force One as he returned from Florida.
In a video posted to Twitter on Saturday, TikTok's U.S. General Manager Vanessa Pappas thanked the company's American users, saying "we're not planning on going anywhere."
Pappas added that she is "proud of our 1,500 U.S. employees who work on this app every day and the additional 10,000 jobs that we're bringing into this country over the next three years."
Trump said he could use emergency economic powers or an executive order to enforce the action, insisting, “I have that authority.” He added, "It’s going to be signed tomorrow.”
Reports by Bloomberg News and the Wall Street Journal citing anonymous sources said the administration could soon announce a decision ordering ByteDance to divest its ownership in TikTok.
TikTok issued a statement Friday saying that, “While we do not comment on rumors or speculation, we are confident in the long-term success of TikTok.”
ByteDance launched TikTok in 2017, then bought Musical.ly, a video service popular with teens in the U.S. and Europe, and combined the two. A twin service, Douyin, is available for Chinese users.
TikTok's fun, goofy videos and ease of use has made it immensely popular, and U.S. tech giants like Facebook and Snapchat see it as a competitive threat. It has said it has tens of millions of U.S. users and hundreds of millions globally.
But its Chinese ownership has raised concerns about the censorship of videos, including those critical of the Chinese government, and the potential for sharing user data with Chinese officials.
TikTok maintains it doesn’t censor videos based on topics sensitive to China and it would not give the Chinese government access to U.S. user data even if asked. The company has hired a U.S. CEO, a former top Disney executive, in an attempt to distance itself from its Chinese ownership.
U.S. national-security officials have been reviewing the Musical.ly acquisition in recent months, while U.S. armed forces have banned their employees from installing TikTok on government-issued phones. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier this month that the U.S. was considering banning TikTok.
These national-security worries parallel a broader U.S. security crackdown on Chinese companies, including telecom providers Huawei and ZTE. The Trump administration has ordered that the U.S. stop funding equipment from those providers in U.S. networks. It has also tried to steer allies away from Huawei because of worries about the Chinese government's access to data, which the company has denied it has.
The Trump administration has stepped in before to block or dissolve deals on national-security concerns, including stopping Singapore's Broadcom from its $117 billion bid for U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm in 2018 in an effort to help retain U.S. leadership in the telecom space. It also told China's Beijing Kunlun Tech Co. to sell off its 2016 purchase of gay dating app Grindr.
Other countries are also taking action against TikTok. India this month banned dozens of Chinese apps, including TikTok, citing privacy concerns, amid tensions between the countries.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.