Trump pushing Microsoft to buy TikTok was ‘strangest thing I’ve ever worked on,’ says Satya Nadella

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Nov 10, 2017
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It’s difficult to remember now, but in August 2020 there was a deeply surreal episode wherein Microsoft proposed acquiring some portion of TikTok in a complicated deal as the Trump administration was threatening to come down hard on the platform. Ultimately, TikTok turned Microsoft down just a day before Oracle came in with an entirely different kind of deal and the whole thing dissipated.

Speaking today at the Code Conference, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the whole ordeal was the “strangest thing I’ve ever sort of worked on.”

In terms of the value of such a deal for Microsoft, Nadella said he “was kind of intrigued by it,” before trying to move right along with a laugh, deadpanning after a pause “and then I guess the rest is history.”

Kara Swisher pressed him for the story and Nadella, clearly still a little agog at the strangeness, walked through a few of the key steps. The important start is that “TikTok came to us, we didn’t come to TikTok,” he says. The company was looking for a US partner to help with “these security things we seem to [have been] hearing about.”

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