Global Tech Roundup: Microsoft to Acquire TikTok, Twitter & Facebook Move Against Trump and Others
Hi Guys! It’s the end of another busy week. Many interesting things happened across the global tech space during the week. From stories of acquisitions to the launch of new products, fundraising and expansions.
Here is a quick roundup of some of the major stories you might have missed.
Microsoft to Acquire TikTok US Operations
TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is currently in talks with Microsoft to acquire the app’s US operations in order to avoid a potential ban in the US. According to Microsoft, its CEO has discussed with Trump and they are committed to acquiring TikTok.
The news of this pending acquisition comes after President Donald Trump gave a deadline of September 15 for the app to be locally acquired or face ban in the US.
Microsoft confirmed that it was looking at acquiring TikTok’s operations in the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. According to reports, the video app is currently valued as a whole between $30 billion and $50 billion.
CNBC reported that Microsoft and ByteDance are looking at finishing up its acquisition talks within the next three weeks, well before the September 15 deadline. However, Trump in a statement said a substantial portion of that price will have to come to the government.
Twitter and Facebook take action against Trump misinformation
During the week, Facebook and Twitter both took action against a post from President Donald Trump and his campaign team. The post contained a misleading clip which described children as “almost immune” to COVID-19.
Facebook took down the offending post while Twitter went further to block the Trump campaign out of its account. According to Twitter, the tweet is in violation of the Twitter Rules on COVID-19 misinformation and the account owner will be required to remove the Tweet before they can Tweet again.
Before now, Twitter and Trump have both clashed over censorship of information on the platform. Also, in a move addressing politicians and governments, Twitter has announced that it will be labelling accounts tied to state-controlled media organizations and government officials
Uber’s delivery business growing larger than ride-hailing
Uber’s delivery business popularly known as Uber Eats is now larger than its original and core ride-hailing services. According to the recently released Q2 earnings, Delivery gross bookings stood at $6.96 billion, doubling the $3.05 billion Mobility gross bookings for the quarter.
The gross booking results turned into adjusted net revenue of about $885 million for Delivery and $793 million for Mobility. This indicates that Uber’s strategy has shifted and that the delivery business has overtaken ridehailing.
Former Google engineer sentenced to 18 months for Stealing Trade Secrets
Former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski, who worked for the Alphabet’s self-driving car division that would become Waymo has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for trade secret theft during his various stints in the self-driving industry.
Levandowski’s sentencing closes the book on a legal saga involving Uber who bought Levandowski’s trucking company, Otto, and Google’s Waymo.
Levandowski was initially sentenced back in March when the US District Attorney’s office recommended a 27-month sentence but Judge William Alsup reduced it to 18 months, to be served at a later date due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to the sentencing, Levandowski also agreed to pay $756,499.22 in restitution to Waymo as well as a fine of $95,000.
Despite the sentencing, Levandowski is plotting a comeback that could see him netting upwards of $4 billion from Uber. Reports say that the engineer has filed a lawsuit making explosive claims against Waymo and Uber that could result in a multi-billion-dollar payout.
With no end in sight to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is possible that the latest lawsuit could be resolved before he even reports to jail.
Disney+ grows to more than 60.5M subscribers
In less than a year of operation, Disney+ has reached more than 60.5 million paying subscribers. This is according to the numbers shared by The Walt Disney Company’s CEO in its latest earnings reports.
The streaming service which launched in November last year has benefited from the accelerated growth caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, Disney+ announced that it had passed 50 million subscribers.
Apart from the pandemic, its user base likely received an additional bump after the end of the quarter, thanks to the release of “Hamilton” over the July 4 weekend.
However, the streaming service still has a lot to do if it wants to catch up with streaming giants Netflix which currently has close to 193 million subscribers.
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