The past couple of weeks have proved difficult for TikTok. While the short-format video platform has proved wildly popular during lockdown, especially here in South Africa, it has come under fire as a result of a controversial new security law targeting residents in Hong Kong.

Consequently, TikTok had to halt its operations in that region in a bid to distance itself to any Chinese ties, but that not has stopped it from being banned in countries like India, with the United States and others contemplating a similar ban.

The company may have found a way of rebranding itself somewhat though, with Microsoft in talks to purchase TikTok. This was confirmed over the weekend via a blog post noting Microsoft’s intentions, as well as the firm noting to the Trump presidency that CEO Satya Nadella is currently in talks with TikTok.

“Following a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Donald J. Trump, Microsoft is prepared to continue discussions to explore a purchase of TikTok in the United States,” the company’s blog explains.

“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,” it adds.

The firm has also placed a timeline on when it aims to get a deal done, outlining the middle of September in that regard.

“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. During this process, Microsoft looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United States Government, including with the President,” the blog post notes.

“The two companies have provided notice of their intent to explore a preliminary proposal that would involve a purchase of the TikTok service in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and would result in Microsoft owning and operating TikTok in these markets. Microsoft may invite other American investors to participate on a minority basis in this purchase,” it continues.

What this means for the social media app in South Africa remains to be seen, but with Microsoft having a large presence here, it would stand to reason that it would look to takeover TikTok in this region too.

We should have a clearer picture of this deal closer to the mid-September deadline, as well as how much such an acquisition would cost. Whether it would get countries like India to unban the app, is unclear for now.

Either way the next few weeks will prove telling for TikTok and its parent company.