Microsoft Sells Its Soul To Buy TikTok
What a pathetic, shameful capitulation
Last night, I stayed up going over the Microsoft blog post on the TikTok situation as if it were the Zapruder film. I just couldn’t believe what I was reading. I thought I must be parsing it wrong. This was a massive US corporation that seemed to be writing a post as if a student on assignment. The teacher in this case, the US President.
Regardless of the content, the ramifications of such an action seemed awfully dire. And then there was the content which was… well, worrisome. But as I kept reading, I couldn’t come up with any other explanation other than Trump asking for such a post, and Microsoft acquiescing. And so I published my thoughts and went to bed certain I would wake up to a world of much more nuanced (or crazy) takes on the situation.
Instead, the opposite happened.
Not only did reports confirm that Trump was behind the post and the messaging therein, he himself confirmed as much. And that included the most damning part: he was demanding that Treasury get a cut of any deal between Microsoft and TikTok. The US Treasury. He just… said it.
But actually, Trump being Trump, he didn’t just say it. He boasted about saying it. Because he believes his government should get a cut of any such deal. A finder’s fee, as it were. He’s negotiating as if it’s a real estate deal. Because of course he is. And that’s the nice way of putting it. The less nice way: a shake down. Extortion.
Microsoft should be ashamed of themselves for going along with this. They’re not just trying to win a deal, they’re enabling a President to paint gray ethical if not legal lines which had been black and white. And it’s especially surprising and disheartening because Satya Nadella has spent much of the past decade digging Microsoft out of the hole in which Steve Ballmer placed them. And their chief legal officer, Brad Smith, has become a key leader on many important issues with regard to ethics and technology. With one blog post, the company just threw that all away.
Apple has passed Saudi Aramco to become the most valuable company in the world once again (Aramco went public last year, of course). After another run today, the stock has the company at the door of a $2T market cap. Some of us are old enough to remember when they were chasing another oil company, Exxon, to become the most valuable company. Exxon’s market cap today? $178B. 🛢
Lest this seem like an Apple love-fest, the emails released as a part of last week’s House Judiciary Committee hearings revealed a lot of lame reasoning behind some of the App Store rules. Not that we didn’t already know most of them, but reading Phil Schiller whine about an Amazon commercial is something else. 📧
We finally have an answer to the Tenet dilemma — and it’s staggered releases around the world, wherever COVID-19 allows. No matter how you slice it, it’s a crappy situation, but to think this won’t lead to piracy is… well, optimistic. 🏴☠️
The most amazing thing about Wilford Brimley — beyond that fact that he has looked and played someone who is 85 years old for at least the past 30 years — is that he was once a bodyguard for Howard Hughes! RIP, feller. 👴🏻
And lest I just shit on Microsoft, the new version of Flight Simulator does look pretty amazing. Maybe they can use it to train for drug running to bring in some more money on the side. 🛫
Back to TikTok, this seems like a pretty good primer on the company and how we got to where we are. 🇨🇳
101.5 million year old bacteria that was brought back to life? Probably not the scientific discovery we need right now. Still 😳.
Defector Media, the artists formerly known as Deadspin, roll out their new website with a unique value proposition: pay to subscribe and those payments will go to the staff, who are also the owners, equally. No idea if it will work, but I’m rooting for it. 📝
Lastly, if you haven’t already, everyone should read President Obama’s eulogy for Congressman John Lewis. Powerful. RIP. 😔
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