Last year’s unsuccessful attempt by Microsoft to acquire TikTok’s U.S. division was “the strangest thing I’ve ever sort of worked on,” according to CEO Satya Nadella.
Because of national security concerns regarding the gathering of data from US users, TikTok was forced by then-US President Donald Trump to split its US version from its Chinese parent ByteDance.
Microsoft initiated discussions on the planned acquisition in August 2020, but the arrangement fell apart by September.
Trump’s divestiture drive had come to a stop by the time he left office in January, and no possible buyer had shown interest in TikTok.
Nadella said he was looking forward to adding Microsoft’s security, child safety, and cloud experience to TikTok while speaking at the Code Conference in Beverly Hills, California.
In an on-stage interview, Nadella said, “It’s unbelievable, I learned so many things about so much and so many people. First of all, TikTok came to us. We didn’t go to TikTok.”
“TikTok was caught in between a lot of things happening across two capitals,” Nadella continued. “President Trump had a particular point of view of what he was trying to get done there, and then it just dropped off. The [US government] had a particular set of requirements and then it just disappeared.”
According to Nadella, the US company’s services linked to content moderation and child safety created through items featured in Xbox video gaming tools and on the business social network LinkedIn drew ByteDance CEO Zhang Yiming to Microsoft.
“You better know something about running social media, which we know with either through Xbox Live or LinkedIn,” Nadella said.
Nadella said he had no clue whether President Joe Biden is still pressing for a deal. The Biden administration has stated that the national security issues are being looked at.
“At this point, I’m happy with what I have right now,” Nadella remarked.
He also advocated for more government control of cryptocurrency regulations, which may deter ransomware assaults by preventing ransoms from flowing via opaque networks.