Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella described a proposed deal to acquire the Tik Tok application, under pressure from the White House under former US President Donald Trump, as “the strangest thing.”
In August 2020, Trump threatened to ban TikTok, a Chinese video application affiliated with parent company ByteDance, which has already begun negotiations with Microsoft.
The plan was to sell the app’s stake in the United States to a US company due to concerns described as a threat to national security.
TikTok eventually chose the competing company, Oracle, even though this deal was never concluded.
In an interview with Kara Swisher, a technology journalist, during the Code conference, Nadella admitted that he was “a bit surprised”.
He said that TikTok is an “impressive product” and convenient for Microsoft because it is a cloud service for social networking that uses artificial intelligence technology.
The background to that proposed partnership was that then-President Trump gave until September 15, 2020, for the Chinese application to sell its business in the United States, or shut down.
A day before the deadline, Microsoft revealed that its bid to take over the company had been rejected.
TikTok reached an agreement with Oracle and Walmart, though, after months of delays and legal challenges, Trump left office, and the need for any such deals has receded.
Nadella revealed some additional details at the time, including that Trump “had a certain view of what he was trying to achieve, and then left office.”
In June, President Joe Biden rescinded an executive order banning TikTok and rival Chinese app WeChat, suspending any such deals with US technology companies.
The US Commerce Department also announced that it will conduct ongoing reviews of applications designed in a “foreign adversary’s jurisdiction” such as China.