Microsoft CEO Says Failed TikTok Deal Was “Strangest Thing” He’s Ever Worked On

On Monday, CEO Satya Nadella said that Microsoft’s failed attempt to take over TikTok’s US operation was the strangest thing he’s ever worked on.

In August 2020, video-sharing platform TikTok was in talks to sell its US operations after the Trump administration threatened to ban the platform unless its parent company, ByteDance, found a US buyer for it. 

Tech giant Microsoft became a potential acquirer at one stage but backed out in September 2020 after Oracle was chosen to provide cloud servers for the platform.

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

Nadella explained that TikTok had initially been looking for a cloud provider that could also offer security services. However, Nadella said he was intrigued, stating it’s a great property. 

However, TikTok’s US operations were never sold. In June of this year, President Joe Biden signed an executive order revoking Trump’s order to ban the platform. Nadella said the government eventually appeared to lose interest in pushing the sale.

Nadella said Microsoft was well-positioned to buy or partner with TikTok, stating that Microsoft has the security technology, the cloud platform, and “the engineers to be able to take over a code base.”

Nadella did not say whether or not Microsoft was still interested in buying TikTok, but he did say that the deal was appealing to the company due to TikTok’s technical design. 

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