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Trump pushing Microsoft to purchase TikTok was ‘strangest factor I’ve ever labored on,’ says Satya Nadella

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It’s troublesome to recollect now, however in August 2020 there was a deeply surreal episode whereby Microsoft proposed acquiring some portion of TikTok in a complicated deal because the Trump administration was threatening to return down arduous on the platform. In the end, TikTok turned Microsoft down only a day earlier than Oracle came in with an entirely different kind of deal and the entire thing dissipated.

Talking right now at the Code Conference, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella mentioned the entire ordeal was the “strangest factor I’ve ever form of labored on.”

When it comes to the worth of such a deal for Microsoft, Nadella mentioned he “was type of intrigued by it,” earlier than making an attempt to maneuver proper together with amusing, deadpanning after a pause “after which I assume the remaining is historical past.”

Kara Swisher pressed him for the story and Nadella, clearly nonetheless somewhat agog on the strangeness, walked by way of a number of of the important thing steps. The necessary begin is that “TikTok got here to us, we didn’t come to TikTok,” he says. The corporate was searching for a US associate to assist with “these safety issues we appear to [have been] listening to about.”

Nadella thought TikTok might need been a great match as a result of it was a social, cloud-based service that closely leveraged AI, all areas of focus for the corporate. “It’s an fascinating product,” he says.

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Nadella’s competition is that Microsoft would have been an fascinating associate for TikTok due to its established work with “investments in social media, specifically what we’re doing in content material moderation and baby security.” These strengths — plus the important thing undeniable fact that it’s a US-based cloud providers supplier — had been seen to be key to assuaging the Trump administration.

“There was a time frame after I although the the [US government] had a particualr set of necessities, [but] it simply disappeared,” Nadella says. “President Trump I feel had a specific standpoint of what he was making an attempt to get completed …after which simply dropped off.”

TikTok in the end let Microsoft know that it wouldn’t be transferring ahead with the deal in September. Later within the 12 months, days forward of a deadline Trump set for mum or dad firm ByteDance to unload its US property, TikTok suggested the administration had forgotten in regards to the ban altogether. President Biden in the end revoked the order this 12 months.

“At this level, it’s all moot, proper?” Nadella says. He says he hasn’t adopted up on what’s occurring with TikTok and Oracle. (Trace: it’s been shelved indefinitely.) Would he like to purchase TikTok now if it got here again on the desk? “No,” Nadella says, “at this level I’m pleased with what I’ve.”

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