Microsoft’s bet on TikTok, between geopolitics and the fight for hegemony on the web
A month and a half to finalize the sale of TikTok to Microsoft or Washington will take action by prohibiting the Chinese application in the US. And the promise, by the US computer giant, to subject the app to a complete security review to provide adequate economic benefits to the United States. According to Reuters, these are the basis of the agreement reached between US President Donald Trump and Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, who in a blog announced the continuation of the negotiations for the acquisition of TikTok from the Chinese ByteDance. An operation that is part of the already tense relations between Washington and Beijing and which could redesign the panorama of the giants of the web, catapulting Microsoft, already the owner of LinkedIn, into the arena of social media and competition for online advertising.
Confidential negotiations between Microsoft and ByteDance had been going on for weeks. They had almost stalled after the latest statements by the American president announcing a decree to block the app as a source of concern for national security. Trump’s hatred of TikTok – a video sharing platform accused, among other things, of having ruined his first post lockdown rally – is joined by bipartisan concerns about Beijing’s open-mindedness regarding data collection and processing. The Trump administration has raised its voice several times, up to the threats re-launched yesterday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, interviewed by Fox News.
“President Trump said it is enough: in the coming days, he will take measures in response to the various national security risks posed by software related to the Chinese Communist Party,” Pompeo affirmed. Specifically, President Trump spoke of TikTok during a phone call with the CEO of Microsoft. Phone call that would have pushed him to grant a truce, without prejudice to the above points: conclusion of the agreement by 15 September and complete revision of the security terms. With the prospect of an injection of oxygen for the American economy, perhaps even more than the 10,000 jobs in three years announced by the current management.
In the TikTok climb, the geopolitical plan intertwines with that for hegemony on the internet. Proof of this is the accusation launched by ByteDance on Facebook of plagiarizing and muddying TikTok, an application on the rise, especially among young and very young people, valued up to 50 billion dollars. “ByteDance has always been committed to becoming a global company. In this process, we are facing all types of difficulties, complex and unimaginable, including the tense international political climate, the collision and conflict of different cultures, the plagiarism and defamation by the competitor Facebook “, read in a post of the Chinese company. “However, we continue to pursue the idea of globalization and increase investment in markets around the world, including China, to create value for global users,” continues ByteDance. “We strictly respect local laws and – he ensures – we will actively use the rights granted by law to safeguard the company’s legal rights.” The long struggle for technological supremacy is fought even in this way, with post shots.
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