The tech giant, once an example of how not to operate in the nation’s capital, now has a successful influence operation there.
Microsoft’s quiet pursuit to buy TikTok suddenly appeared dead a month ago, when President Trump said he wanted to ban the popular social media app for national security reasons. So Brad Smith, the tech giant’s president, went to work.
He called two dozen lawmakers, telling them that TikTok would be safe in Microsoft’s hands. Within 48 hours, he had what he needed.
Mr. Trump saw a tweet by Senator Lindsey Graham, a close ally of the president and one of the people Mr. Smith talked to, calling a Microsoft deal “win-win.” Soon, Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive, was on the phone with Mr. Trump, and got his blessing to proceed with acquisition talks.
It was another win for Microsoft’s quietly effective Washington influence operation.
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