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Nadella on Tiktok talks: “The funniest thing I've ever worked on”

Microsoft boss Satya Nadella: Tiktok would have been an interesting partner for him. (Photo: Microsoft)
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During the conflict between Donald Trump and Tiktok, the Chinese group negotiated a takeover with Microsoft – Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella now describes his perspective on the processes.

Tiktok, Microsoft, Oracle and somewhere in the middle of it Donald Trump: From the summer of 2020, a negotiating thriller about the social media platform of the company Bytedance took place in the USA – which ultimately fizzled out. At the Code Conference a year later, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella commented on the events.

Tiktok versus Donald Trump: Takeover by Microsoft did not take place in 2020

Because the US government feared that Tiktok could pass on the data it had collected to the Chinese authorities, Bytedance threatened a US ban with its app. One possibility to bypass the floating sword of Damocles seemed to be the sale of Tiktok to US investors – the then US President Donald Trump would have been more than happy with that, at times he even wanted to order exactly that.

Interested negotiating partners were quickly found in the form of Microsoft and Oracle. The ideas of Microsoft and Tiktok were then probably not compatible, and ultimately no deal was made with Oracle. This was followed by a legal back and forth between the US government and the Tiktok operators that went on for months. Trump’s planned sanctions were repeatedly postponed and finally suspended in court, in June 2021 the new US President Joe Biden finally ended the bans.

Satya Nadella: The Tiktok negotiations from the Microsoft CEO’s point of view

At the recent Code Conference, the moderator and journalist Kara Swisher asked the Microsoft boss personally about the Tiktok issue, The Verge quotes the conversation in excerpts. What went on under pressure from Trump was “the funniest thing I’ve ever worked on,” said Nadella. He was fascinated by the potential value of the deal for Microsoft, explains the CEO, “and I would say the rest is history.”

Tiktok approached Microsoft at the time, not the other way around, emphasizes the entrepreneur. The Bytedance subsidiary was looking for a partner who would support them in “these security matters” – which Microsoft had already known about, of course. For him, the two companies would have been a good match, Tiktok as a social, cloud-based service with major AI influences is an “interesting product”, Microsoft has “investments in social media, especially what we do with content moderation and child safety do “and bring the status of a US company into a cooperation.

Microsoft boss does not interested in buying Tiktok

“There was a time when I thought the had certain requirements [aber] they just disappeared, ”The Verge quotes the entrepreneur. “I think President Trump had a certain point of view that he wanted to implement – … and then just dropped it.”

He is now satisfied with what he has, said Nadella. He would have no further interest in buying Tiktok if the platform came back on the negotiating table.

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