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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella calls the Trump-driven Tiktok deal the 'strangest thing' he's ever worked on

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella calls the Trump-driven Tiktok deal

September 29, 2021: -Microsoft’s failed attempt to take over TikTok’s U.S. operation last year was “the strangest thing I’ve ever worked on,” CEO Satya Nadella said on Monday.

In August, TikTok was in talks to sell its U.S. operations because the Trump administration threatened to ban the app unless parent company ByteDance found a U.S. buyer for it.

At one point, Microsoft was the potential acquirer, but it backed out in September 2020, when Oracle was the one to provide cloud servers for the app.

“First of all, you’ve got to remember, TikTok came to us; we didn’t go to TikTok,” Nadella said at the Code Conference in Beverly Hills, California. “TikTok was caught in a lot of issues that they were having across two capitals, and they wanted to partner.”

TikTok wanted a cloud provider that could also offer security services, Nadella said.

“But I was pretty intrigued,” he says. “And let’s say it’s a great property,” he added.

TikTok’s U.S. operations never got sold. In June, President Joe Biden signed an executive order revoking the Trump administration order to ban the app.

Nadella said the U.S. government seemed to lose interest in pushing the transaction eventually.

“President Trump, I think he had sort of a particular point of view on what he was trying to get done there,” Nadella said. “Then I just dropped off, and it was interesting. There was a period that I felt that the USG had some particular set of requirements, and then they just disappeared.”

Nadella says that Microsoft was well-positioned to purchase or partner with TikTok, which reported a billion monthly users worldwide.

He said that Microsoft has the cloud platform, the security technology, and “the engineers to be able to take over a codebase.”

The ability of Microsoft to moderate content and keep children safe on social media was a draw for the parent company of Transparent.

“You better know something about handling social media, which we know with Xbox Live or LinkedIn,” Nadella said.

Nadella refused to say if he still wanted to buy the app, indicating that he’s “happy with what I have.” But he agreed that the deal appealed to Microsoft because of TikTok’s technical design.

“It’s an interesting product,” Nadella said.

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