TikTok purchase proposal takes Microsoft employees by surprise

By Lucy Ingham

The majority of Microsoft employees were surprised to learn that the US tech giant is considering purchasing TikTok.

This is according to a survey conducted by Blind, an app that anonymously surveys verified employees of major technology companies.

It surveyed over 1,000 tech employees, and of those who worked at Microsoft, 78% said they were surprised to hear about the company’s expression of interest in purchasing TikTok.

59% said that they wanted the sale to go ahead.

Microsoft announced that it was in discussion to purchase the segment of the Chinese social media company covering the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand after a conversation between CEO Satya Nadella and US President Donald Trump.

Trump had been seeking to ban TikTok from the US over privacy concerns. However, some commentators have suggested that this is more to do with the US President’s ongoing battle with China than a genuine concern over user data – particularly given that the data accessed by TikTok is similar to US-owned Facebook.

Tech industry skeptical about benefits of a Microsoft TikTok purchase

However, those surveyed by Blind were skeptical that the sale would be beneficial, with only 41% overall and 55% at Microsoft saying they thought the social media app would perform better if owned by the US tech heavyweight.

Notably, this varied significantly by company. 68% of employees at Microsoft subsidiary LinkedIn felt TikTok would perform better if sold to the company, while 61% at Intel agreed.

However, only 32% of Uber, Amazon and Google employees thought the sale was a good idea, while just 13% of Facebook employees saw the sale as beneficial to TikTok’s performance.

Just 53% of Microsoft employees said that they thought their company would benefit from the purchase.

Trump has given Microsoft 45 days to negotiate the sale of the North American arm of TikTok.

Read more: TikTok mulls selling US arm to Microsoft, but could UK move enrage Trump?