Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said on Monday, “It was the strangest thing ever, when Microsoft failed to handle TikTok’s US operations last year.
Last August, TikTok was in talks to sell its business in the United States after the Trump administration threatened to ban the app unless parent company ByteDance found a US buyer.
At one point, Microsoft was one of the potential acquirers, but withdrew in September 2020 when Oracle was selected to provide cloud servers for its apps.
“First and foremost, we have to remember that TikTok came to us, we didn’t go to TikTok,” Nadella said at a Code conference in Beverly Hills, California. “Tiktok was caught in many problems in the two capitals and wanted to be a partner.”
Nadella said that initially TikTok wanted a cloud provider that could also provide security services.
“But I was very curious,” he said. “And obviously, let’s just say it’s a huge asset.”
TikTok’s US business never sold. In June, President Joe Biden signed an executive order revoking the Trump administration’s order to ban the apps.
Mr Nadella said the US government eventually lost interest in pursuing the deal.
“President Trump, I think he had a certain vision of what he was trying to do there,” Nadella said. “Then I just got off. That was fun. There were times when I thought the USG had a set of specific requirements, and then they disappeared.
Microsoft is in a good position to buy or partner with TikTok, according to Nadella, reporting earlier this week that it has 1 billion monthly users worldwide.
He added that Microsoft has a cloud platform, security technologies and “engineers who can handle the code base.”
In addition, Microsoft’s ability to moderate content and keep children safe on social media was also what attracted the parent company of TikTok.
“You should know something about the operation of social media that we know through Xbox Live or LinkedIn,” Nadella said.
Nadella didn’t say whether she still wanted to buy the app, saying “I’m happy with what I have.” But he admitted that Microsoft liked the deal because of the technical design of TikTok.
“It’s an interesting product,” Nadella said.
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