For the better part of a decade, Microsoft Corp. Has made it clear about the mass of products and services that spark controversies – after all, a company that has the boldest base in social networking, the button-down LinkedIn. A deal to buy the video streaming app TikTok, an idea President Trump is insisting will change all of this, has managed to keep Microsoft from getting into that kind of political minefield in recent years. “Microsoft has so far been out of technology,” says Ashokan Kazarian, director of civil liberties at TechFreedom, a liberal think tank in Washington. “If they get Ticktock, that’s gonna change.”
Four days after Amazon.com owners, Apple, Facebook and Google were blasted as “cyberbaran” at a congressional hearing – a serious Microsoft was spared – the company said it was in talks to buy TikTok Was. Like other social media companies, TikTok faces criticism that it has not done enough to combat war harassment and hate speech. Shopping will be a major change for Microsoft, possibly exposing it to the kinds of concerns that get its rivals in trouble with lawmakers: privacy, misinformation, political debate, and the protection of minors. “A company that voluntarily indulges in content moderation wars has a gluttony for punishment,” says Nu Wexler, an independent communications consultant who has worked on Twitter, Facebook and Google coaching executives to deal with Congress.
Tiktok had initially become a hit among teenagers posting silly videos – usually just seconds of singing, dancing and walking around, often challenging dudes to respond with similar clips. As people around the world looked for ways to make lockdown calculations easier this spring and summer, TickTalk drifted into the cutting edge of bite-sized material. Today it is a profitable business with sales of approximately $ 2 billion worldwide, Wesbush Securities Inc. Is estimated The application has been downloaded more than 2 billion times globally, including 165 million American downloads, giving it the ability to challenge Facebook Inc. and Google for online advertising.
That increase has drawn scrutiny from US lawmakers, who say ByteDance Ltd, which owns the service, may harvest US data on behalf of the Chinese government. This spring, Trump joined, stating that he wanted to ban Tiktok for security reasons and punish China for dealing with coronovirus. On August 6, Trump ended his rebellion with China, signing a pair of executive orders that prohibit Americans from doing business with Tiktok and WeChat messaging services from mid-September. For TikTok, at least, there is a possible way through the Microsoft deal. Bytdance has denied allegations several times that it shares data with the Chinese government. But after it became clear that Trump would not be returning, the company hinted that it might be open to selling part of its video service.
A purchase would take Microsoft into treacherous territory, as many users are children, sometimes dressing or dancing provocatively or exchanging messages with adults without parental consent. And mixed with all the goofy stuff are clips promoting dangerous Kovid-19 conspiracy theories, nationalists calling for undisputed immigrants, or militants about white supremacists, to murder Jews and black people. In the second half of 2019, Tiktok took around 50 million videos, deemed inappropriate – more than three times the number of YouTube videos removed in the same period.
Last year, the US Federal Trade Commission fined Tickcock $ 5.7 million after determining the personal information that the U.S. children had. Privacy laws were broken. According to advocates advocating privacy, it is said that this is the subject of another inquiry by the FTC and the US Department of Justice, although it did not clear its act on the allegations. One of those people, Josholine, executive director of a commercial-free childhood campaign, notes that Microsoft has previously dealt with child safety, specifically for services on its Xbox game console. And in 2009 the company developed PhotoDNA, a web scanner that hunts for photos and videos of children sexually abused. The trust and security problems at Toltok go far beyond the problems Microsoft encountered in the past. They say, “It is easy to crack down on those things right from the beginning.” “When you inherit a site where those practices are already so disrupted, it’s more difficult.”
According to Bloomberg Intelligence, with $ 137 billion in the bank, Microsoft can easily make a cash deal. But it is wary of exorbitant payments, especially because Ticketok looks like a troubled asset under pressure from Trump. At the same time, Microsoft would like to avoid going so low that China feels it has been asked not to discuss a person’s internal discussions. Microsoft has a delicate relationship with China: although some of its products have been banned and the mainland is making less than 2% of the company’s revenue, the government permits joint ventures selling Xbox consoles and cloud services Has given Microsoft operates sensor versions of LinkedIn and Bing search engines, and has had a research laboratory in Beijing since the 1990s, which now has more than 200 scientists. Critics — notably including White House trade adviser Peter Navarro — say all the evidence is soft on Microsoft China.
There is a deal under discussion in which Microsoft will own TikTok in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and ByteDance, retaining the rest, which, according to the company’s acquaintance, will cause a host of concerns over technology transfer and branding. thinking. Bridging the gap between the two owners will make material restraint a major headache, as the two sides may have very different views about what should be allowed or banned, the person says. There are already several versions of Tiktok for different regions, often employing codes from music. In 2017, an app ByteDance has been acquired. With BiteDance engineers in China still working on Tiktok, it is unclear how Microsoft can split the code and the underlying technology to ensure that. It is free from Chinese interference.
Since Satya Nadella became the Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft in 2014, the shares have risen nearly five-fold and the company has returned to the ranks of leading tech powerhouse. But despite Nadella’s strategy being profitable, he has focused on relatively boring stuff such as enterprise applications and cloud computing – and has little in the way of consumer business, other than Xbox. With some previous efforts trying to move forward, Nokia and Skype said the company lacked the chops to succeed with consumers. Tikotok could change the narrative that prompted the authorities to start purchasing about a month in advance, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Nadella has three major acquisitions – Minecraft Computer Games, LinkedIn and GitHub, a collaboration platform for software developers. All the big groups that Microsoft understood were: gamers, white-collar activists and coders, says S. Somsegger, a venture capitalist who worked at Microsoft for 27 years. Teens and young adults, who make up the bulk of Tiktok users, are a less obvious one – although Somsegger says a deal can still work. “Is this a risk? Absolutely, ”he says. “But if you don’t take the risk, you turn into a mediocre company.”