It’s a chaotic series of events that began when Trump threatened to force Chinese company ByteDance to sell TikTok to an American owner, citing privacy and security concerns. Microsoft stepped in as a potential buyer, though the company eventually struck a deal with Oracle and Walmart that was canceled by President Joe Biden’s administration in February 2021.
TikTok originally came to Microsoft, Nadella said, looking for a cloud and security partner to help steer the delicate political landscape between China and the United States. “That’s kind of how it started,” he said. “But I was quite intrigued. I have to say this is a great property. Obviously everyone has seen this growth and all you’ve got, and I guess the rest is history. “
In fact, just yesterday, TikTok reached one billion users and did so in less than four years. To put it into perspective, it took Instagram almost eight years after its initial release and almost six years after its acquisition by Facebook in 2012 to cross the billion user mark.
President Trump, I think, sort of had a particular take on what he was trying to do there and then he just gave up, ”he said. “I mean, it was interesting. There was a period when I felt that the [administration] had a particular set of requirements and then they just disappeared.
Swisher persisted on the matter, asking Nadella about Microsoft’s negotiations with Trump. “President Trump, I think he kind of had a particular take on what he was trying to do there, and then he just gave up,” he said. “I mean, it was interesting. There was a period when I felt that the [administration] had a particular set of requirements and then they just disappeared.
In fact, Microsoft was in the midst of negotiations with ByteDance when Trump dropped a bombshell, telling reporters he’d rather ban the app than allow it to be sold to an American company, according to a book by Microsoft President Brad Smith. . This “upset the careful negotiations we had with ByteDance” to buy TikTok’s business in the United States and the other three countries, he wrote. Trump did not give in and authorize a deal until after Nadella personally called him.
After Oracle’s winning bid, ByteDance said Trump had “ghosted” the site, effectively going silent after ordering the company to divest its US TikTok assets.
Although he left empty-handed, Microsoft has learned a few things about the complex foreign negotiations around the technology. “It’s possible to run a foreign technology service in a national data center with strict security, privacy, and digital security controls in a way that provides appropriate transparency to local government officials,” Smith said.
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