US President Trump may have upset teenagers by deciding to ban TikTok, but our columnist thinks he has a point. So, are take-overs by national giants a solution? Food for thought as the Chinese company behind the app runs an office in Berlin.
The talk of the tech world is Donald Trump’s discomfort with TikTok being utilized in the US – he believes it is a spy tool for China. What does this have to do with Berlin? Germany? Well, considering the fact that ByteDance, the company behind the app, has offices in Berlin, Munich and Hamburg, I find it quite interesting that Germany is not part of the Microsoft territorial takeover talks. TikTok has been adopted by the younger generation and is Facebook’s biggest competitor. How many of you and your family members have started using the app as a result of COVID-19 as we try to entertain ourselves at home? TikTok enables us to dance together, post funny videos, laugh and touch the lives of millions across the globe. The Chinese video portal was intended to be a platform for the lip synchronization of music videos and the creation of short video clips that also serve as a social network. Currently, over 800 million people utilize the platform and I don’t see this number decreasing anytime in the near future.
Microsoft in the mix
According to Reuters in May 2020, ByteDance started to increase its business activities in the US. President Donald Trump has made it quite clear that he finds this unacceptable. The company has hired over 150 specialists in California to expand its development capabilities. From China to the US, this trend is sounding all too familiar. ByteDance has deep pockets and has become a tech conglomerate in China. In 2017 they invested approximately one billion dollars in advertising to compete with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and jumped to the top of the do w nload charts.
Trump has justifiable concerns over data protection of the US citizens and has ordered TikTok to shut down in the US. However, Microsoft has stepped up suggesting to save the day by taking over the platform’s US operations. They assured the President that they w ould protect the data of citizens and ha ve Trump’s blessing to go ahead. My question is, if Germany is one of the most risk adverse countries in the world and protecting the data of its citizens is such a priority, why hasn’t Germany raised such concerns and kicked TikTok out of the country?
Microsoft would only be responsible for part of the app’s core business, but the acquisition could be quite challenging due to national border regulations and brand maintenance and integrity. Byte D ance will surely be skipping all the way to the bank, but how will Microsoft deal with the election, hate speech, fake accounts and more? Will they be able to bring all backup data to the US and keep the data of citizens from Canada, Australia and New Zealand safe? Shouldn’t Microsoft Germany also consider taking over operations here in Berlin? Microsoft claims that i t would put world-class IT security, privacy and digital security measures in place. Let’s see how that goes.
Brand mismatch and integrity
Let’s face it, Microsoft is part of the “Big Five”, so the next issue will be the market dominance that they might have over Apple, Facebook, Google, or Amazon. Currently, TikTok in the US has less users than Facebook but the alliance between Microsoft and TikTok will definitely start a Zuckerberg rant that most likely won’t end on a positive note. #Brandsmatter, I won’t deny this. When people think of Microsoft, I doubt they consider it to be a modern entertainment company. However, they do have a reputation minors. We have seen this as it relates to their gaming business (think Xbox).
What do you think of when you hear the name Microsoft? I think about my Corporate life and bad user experience.
What do you think of when you hear the name Microsoft? I think about my Corporate life and bad user experience as I try to virtually connect with my colleagues across the globe. Not to mention, if Donald approves of the acquisition of the core business, I am thinking of voting rigging and inequality as November rolls around.
If Trump is worried about the influence that TikTok China could have on the US, what about the influence that Google, Twitter, Facebook and Apple have over Germany? Should our government force a German entity to take over operations of all these tech brands in order to protect our data here in Berlin and across Germany? Hmmm. With TikTok’s own branch in Berlin, maybe it’s time for us to keep an eye on this social video platform and take advantage of the company’s upswing just like Donald is planning to do. According to various sources, President Trump has suggested that the US government should earn a few bucks from the sale and gives TikTok until September 15 to close a deal with Microsoft or other interested US parties. Let’s start the countdown… 44 more days to go. Best of luck Microsoft…
Speaking of data protection: a tip for startups
The IBM Hyper Protect Accelerator is an investment-readiness program for startups leveraging highly sensitive data to improve access to digital, financial and healthcare services. Apply before August 16, 2020 for a chance to receive technical and business mentorship from experts across the globe and a chance to earn up $120,000 in IBM Cloud credits .
That’s all folks… until next week.
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