Microsoft’s attempt to acquire TikTok endears old company to new generation

Microsoft

Microsoft has emerged as a saviour to young users of TikTok, who praised the technology sector giant for attempting to buy parts of social networking company’s operations, in hopes of avoiding a US shutdown.

KEY POINTS:

  • Microsoft Corp has endeared itself to a new generation by its attempts to acquire the much loved TikTok app
  • The company has been successful with its acquisition strategy over the past few years, with Minecraft, Github and LinkedIn being widely acknowledged as being successes
  • Some commentators worry about a lack of synergy between Microsoft’s core products and TikTok

Bearing hashtags like #SaveTikTok and #Microsoft, which have attracted almost 1 billion views united, TikTok’ers – an overwhelmingly young group that uses the app to create short dance, lip-sync, comedy and talent videos – embraced a company founded by people their grandparent’s age and whose former chief executive’s pre-internet-era onstage outbursts and profuse sweating are now a YouTube meme.

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A look at Microsoft’s track record on recent acquisitions, including building game Minecraft in 2014 and business networking site LinkedIn in 2016, could validate TikTok users’ optimism, analysts said.

In the last several years, Microsoft has taken a hands-off approach to integrating acquisitions, said Mike Vorhaus, CEO of Vorhaus Advisors, a digital media consulting company. For example, Microsoft left Minecraft’s team working in Europe, he said.

“You don’t want to lose (TikTok’s) secret sauce, but you want them to gain from Microsoft,” he said.

Microsoft has abandoned its historic practice of linking back all its products to its Windows operating system or other properties. Minecraft apps have no clear connection to Microsoft. Since it was acquired, its sales have quadrupled over the six years and it reaches 126 million users.

Under Satya Nadella, who took over as Microsoft CEO back in 2014, the company has acquired two significant online communities that it has allowed to operate autonomously. After obtaining business-oriented network LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, LinkedIn kept its brand identity, CEO and its own offices, while GitHub, the code-repository agency acquired in 2018, has continued to build tools that help developers utilise Microsoft’s rivals.

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JT Casey, a TikTok consumer with 2.8 million followers, said that he was initially concerned about the idea of Microsoft’s possession, but concluded there is a potential change that may benefit video founders.

“I realised Microsoft will figure out a way to monetise better, which will lead to creators making more money, as well as Microsoft,” he said.

While TikTok’s buffs are lauding Microsoft for coming to the rescue after President Trump jeopardised a ban over concerns with the Chinese-owned firm handled user data, they’re thinking about different choices.

Dmitri Robinson, a 20-year-old TikTok consumer with over 270,000 followers, stated short-form video apps Triller and Byte are viewed for the next hottest app among conversations with friends and videos he has observed on TikTok.

On Friday, when Trump told reporters that he planned to prohibit TikTok as soon as that weekend, downloads for four of TikTok’s top competitors, Triller, Byte, Dubsmash and Likee all spiked, based on analysis data from Apptopia.

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Facebook Inc’s Instagram can also be readying the launch of its TikTok competition, known as Reels, which debuted in Brazil in November.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Jonathan Landay. Editing by Steve Orlofsky.

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