Biden Official Praises Tech Move to Sever Ties With Chinese Company

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Microsoft’s decision to invest $1.5 billion for a stake in G42 was a welcomed development as the deal points to an American company offering an alternative to Chinese tech-giant Huawei, a White House official said on Monday.

In April, Microsoft announced the deal with G42, a United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based artificial intelligence (AI) firm, for what the companies said was “to co-innovate and deliver advanced AI solutions with Microsoft Azure” across the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa.

Tarun Chhabra, a White House technology adviser, suggested that the U.S. government applauded the move where an American company replaced Huawei for G42’s operations.

“In a place like UAE…where you had G42 working very closely with Huawei, for example, we have an interest in changing that picture,” Chhabra said at a Washington, D.C., event held by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) think tank, Reuters reported Monday. “The effort to work with Microsoft as an alternative to Huawei is generally a positive development and one that we want to encourage.”

Newsweek has contacted the White House, Huawei, and G42 for comment via email on Monday.

The United States has alleged in the past that Huawei could be a conduit through which the Chinese government can spy on its users. However, the company has denied in the past that it would provide “back door” access to data on its platforms to Beijing, The Wall Street Journal previously reported.

Reuters reported that the Middle East is emerging as a battleground for the U.S. and China in their tech rivalry amid the emergence of AI as a force in global technology.

While announcing the deal with G42 in April, Microsoft said the companies were committed to adhering to U.S. and international trade agreements.

Microsoft headquarters are seen on July 17, 2014, in Redmond, Washington. A White House official recently praised the company’s investment in a United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based artificial intelligence firm in April.

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

“The commercial partnership is backed by assurances to the U.S. and UAE governments through a first-of- its-kind binding agreement to apply world-class best practices to ensure the secure, trusted, and responsible development and deployment of AI,” the tech giant said in a statement. “Microsoft and G42 will work closely together to elevate the security and compliance framework of their joint international infrastructure.”

Microsoft said that its work with G42 will be “governed by a detailed Intergovernmental Assurance Agreement between G42 and Microsoft that was developed in close consultation with both the UAE and U.S. governments.”

The company also said that G42 will move its operations to Microsoft Azure, the firm’s cloud computing platform.

“With the partnership, G42’s data platform and other essential technology infrastructure will migrate to Microsoft Azure to benefit from industry-leading performance, scalability and security capabilities,” Microsoft said in its statement.

Update 6/24/24, 6 p.m. ET: This article’s headline has been updated for clarity.