It’s troublesome to recollect now, however in August 2020 there was a deeply surreal episode whereby Microsoft proposed buying some portion of TikTok in an advanced deal because the Trump administration was threatening to come back down arduous on the platform. In the end, TikTok turned Microsoft down only a day earlier than Oracle got here in with a wholly totally different type of deal and the entire thing dissipated.

Talking at the moment at the Code Conference, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella mentioned the entire ordeal was the “strangest thing I’ve ever sort of worked on.”

When it comes to the worth of such a deal for Microsoft, Nadella mentioned he “was kind of intrigued by it,” earlier than attempting to maneuver proper together with fun, deadpanning after a pause “and then I guess the rest is history.”

Kara Swisher pressed him for the story and Nadella, clearly nonetheless a bit agog on the strangeness, walked by a number of of the important thing steps. The vital begin is that “TikTok came to us, we didn’t come to TikTok,” he says. The corporate was on the lookout for a US accomplice to assist with “these security things we seem to [have been] hearing about.”

Nadella thought TikTok may 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 is an interesting product,” he says.

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

“There was a period of time when I though the the [US government] had a particualr set of requirements, [but] it just disappeared,” Nadella says. “President Trump I think had a particular point of view of what he was trying to get done …and then just dropped off.”

TikTok finally let Microsoft know that it wouldn’t be shifting ahead with the deal in September. Later within the yr, days forward of a deadline Trump set for mum or dad firm ByteDance to dump its US property, TikTok steered the administration had forgotten concerning the ban altogether. President Biden finally revoked the order this yr.

“At this point, it’s all moot, right?” Nadella says. He says he hasn’t adopted up on what’s happening 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 point I’m happy with what I have.”


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