Satya Nadella said Microsoft's attempt to buy TikTok under the Trump administration was the 'strangest thing' he'd ever worked on

Satya Nadella said Microsoft's attempt to buy TikTok under the Trump administration was the 'strangest thing' he'd ever worked on
Satya Nadella is the CEO of Microsoft Sean Gallup: Getty Images
  • President Donald Trump last August ordered TikTok to sell its US operations to an American firm.
  • Satya Nadella on Monday said Microsoft's role in that was the "strangest thing" he'd worked on.
  • He said the government lost interest in a deal between Microsoft and TikTok's parent, ByteDance.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Monday said the company's failed attempt to buy TikTok's US operations was "the strangest thing" he'd ever worked on.

President Donald Trump back in August 2020 ordered TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, to sell its TikTok US operations to an American company, citing concerns over ByteDance's links to Beijing. Microsoft announced it was pursuing an acquisition on August 2, but then 1 1/2 months later, on September 13, it said the deal had fallen through.

During an interview at the Code tech conference on Monday, as reported by CNBC and The Verge, Nadella said TikTok had initially approached Microsoft about the planned sale. "TikTok was caught in between a lot of issues that they were having across two capitals, and they wanted to partner," Nadella said, per CNBC.

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He added that the US government lost interest in the deal. "There was a period of time when I thought the [US government] had a particular set of requirements, [but] it just disappeared," Nadella said, per The Verge.

"President Trump I think had a particular point of view of what he was trying to get done," but this "just dropped off," Nadella added, per The Verge.


After Microsoft failed to buy TikTok's US operations, ByteDance struck a deal with Oracle, but it walked away in February once the Biden administration was in control, The South China Morning Post reported at the time.

In June of this year, President Joe Biden rescinded a Trump-era executive order banning TikTok along with the Chinese app WeChat. Trump's so-called TikTok ban had already been blocked by a federal judge in November.