Microsoft Corp’s near-acquisition of social media app TikTok last year was “the strangest thing I’ve ever worked on,” chief executive Satya Nadella said on Monday.
TikTok had been ordered by then-US President Donald Trump to separate its US version from Chinese parent company ByteDance due to national security concerns over collecting data from US users. Microsoft began talks on the proposed acquisition in August 2020, but the deal collapsed in September.
Trump’s divestment push ended when he left office in January, and no potential suitor ended up acquiring TikTok. Speaking at the Code conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., Nadella said she was eager to bring Microsoft’s security, child safety and cloud expertise to TikTok.
“It’s amazing,” Nadella said of the experience in an onstage interview. “I have learned so much about so many and so many people. First of all, TikTok came to us. We did not go to TikTok.
“TikTok was caught between a lot of things going on in two capitals,” Nadella continued. “President Trump had a particular take on what he was trying to do there and then it just fell off. The US government had a particular set of requirements and then it just disappeared. ”
Nadella said that what attracted ByteDance CEO Zhang Yiming to Microsoft were the American company’s services related to content moderation and child safety, developed through products included in Xbox video game tools. and on the corporate social network LinkedIn. ByteDance did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Nadella said he has no idea if the United States is still pushing for a deal under President Joe Biden.
The Biden administration said it was looking at national security concerns. “At this point I’m happy with what I have,” Nadella said. He also expressed support for tighter government regulation of cryptocurrency rules, which could stifle ransomware attacks, as ransoms often flow through opaque systems.
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