Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella: Negotiations on TikTok are “the strangest thing I have ever participated in”


Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft, gestures as he attends Microsoft's'Young Innovators' Summit' in New Delhi, India February 26, 2020. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis-RC288F9X0CWQ

Anushree Fadnavis / Reuters

At this time last year, Bytedance was doing its best to avoid TikTok being blocked by the Trump administration in the United States and many other countries, and Microsoft was one of their potential partners at the time. Although this incident ended with the new President Biden’s revocation of the executive order, even in the mergers and acquisitions promoted by Trump in the later period, Oracle, Wal-Mart and not Microsoft won, but in an interview at the Code Conference a few days ago, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella still shared some secrets related to this matter.

“The negotiations on TikTok are the strangest thing I have ever been involved in.” Nadella said. According to him, TikTok initially contacted Microsoft, hoping that the latter will help it find a place in the delicate political landscape of China and the United States as a cloud and security partner. “This is how things started.” Nadella said, “But I am very interested. I have to say that it is a good opportunity. Everyone can see their (now) growth, and the rest is history. .”

In fact, just yesterday TikTok just announced that it officially broke through 1 billion monthly active usersMark. It only took them less than 4 years to achieve this achievement. As a comparison, Instagram took almost 8 years, and 6 of them have to be credited with the later owner Facebook.

When asked about the communication with Trump, Nadella’s answer made people feel the former president’s “random”. “I think President Trump had a certain point of view about what he was trying to achieve in this matter, but he later gave up.” Nadella said, “What I want to say is that this matter is very interesting. For a while, I felt that the Trump administration had some specific requirements, and then they disappeared.”

In fact, according to Microsoft President Brad Smith’s book, when Trump told reporters without warning that he would rather block TikTok than allow Bytedance to sell it to a US company, Microsoft and Byte The “cautious negotiations” regarding the acquisition of TikTok’s business in the United States and other three countries fell into “chaos” in an instant. After Nadella called in person, Trump relaxed and allowed the transaction to proceed. However, after roughly negotiating with Oracle about the terms of the transaction, BYTE said that Trump “disappeared” for a while. After they were told that they needed to split their business, there was no news from the other side…

Although it was still empty-handed in the end, Microsoft still gained some experience in technology-related cross-border negotiations through this incident. “It is completely feasible to operate foreign technical services in a domestic data center with strict security, privacy, and digital security controls, provided that proper transparency is provided to the local government.” Smith wrote in the book.