Tiktok is taking over. Microsoft can hold this for a song.

Obviously, I like it when a puddle stares into an air conditioner, flapping ears, while Christopher Cross can be heard singing, “When the wind is right, you can go away.” I also like it when a man wears a deadly clown mask, hides in a garbage can, and scares his friend Bezzius out of the trash. Do i like to sing and dance? sometimes. Magic Tricks or Politics? never.

This is what my Tiktok history says about my taste, at least. And don’t come to me to spend time on the app – it’s my daughter’s fault. She asked if she could download TikTok for her iPad. I said no, because it is owned by ByteDance in China, and the government there controls companies, and it may one day use our data and images in ways we don’t like. Never assume that I accidentally described FacebookOf
(Ticker: FB) Business Model. What’s important is that my daughter just bought the explanation for now. Before he could ask again, I downloaded the app to find out more about why I am against it.
Did you know that user-submitted videos of Tiktok, typically 15 seconds long, start playing automatically? You do not have to choose anything. If you like the video and swipe to another then just click on the heart icon. The algorithm learns what you are doing. Am i hooked Let me tell you, after this strangely compelling clip of a hydraulic machine uprooting an old tree stump, and the next one of the man who broke the yodeling.
I am alone TikTok has one billion users. Near the beginning of the epidemic, it became the most downloaded app in a single quarter. It is the first social-media platform in the past decade, giving Facebook and its Instagram platform a shot, if not profit, for users. And among the young, TikTok may have already topped it.

What makes it all the more surprising is that Microsoft (MSFT) can walk away with TikTok for a song. See, President Donald Trump says that ByteDance has until September 15 to sell or close its US operations. For her reasons a lot feels like I told my daughter with only a national-security twist.

Facebook and the Google Guardian Alphabet (GOOGL) would prefer to bid, but they are in a regulatory naughty corner, with Amazon.com (AMZN) and Apple (AAPL) freshening up a contradictory hearing in Congress. The free-handed one is the only one who faced antitrust proceedings in the 1990s, at which time the decision to breakup was deferred, then settled, and multiplied six times over the last two decades at market value: Microsoft.
“People almost consider him as a former prisoner who has paid his debts to society,” says Scott Galloway, a tech entrepreneur and New York University marketing professor. “Whether it’s right or not is a fair question.”
Trump has indicated that he would be fine with Microsoft to buy Tiktok, and Microsoft has confirmed that the two are in talks. Wesbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives sees a 75% to 80% probability that the deal occurs. Microsoft is focused on enterprise customers, largely because some previous efforts on consumer products have flopped. Remember the search engine Bing? It’s still around – I saw it.
Microsoft can claim to be a pipsque in social media, even if it has a larger market value than Facebook or Alphabet. Meanwhile, investors are the go-to for fast-growing, consumer-facing, youth-skewed, epidemic-resistant online businesses. Microsoft sits on $ 136 billion in cash and short-term investments, and can generate close to $ 50 billion in free cash in the coming year. Ives, which is bullish on the stock, says the company could pay $ 50 billion for TikTok and double its value to investors the next day. “Christmas came early for Microsoft,” he says.
I will bring benefits to this, but I already suspect that I am the oldest person to use TikTok, and I do not want to sound more fumigation-paddy. Suffice it to say, the service is free, and I haven’t seen much advertising. TikTok doesn’t seem like a natural fit for LinkedIn-Picture Twitter (TWTR), Microsoft’s biggest social-media asset that treats itself to job interviews. It may be that Microsoft has a better tie-in with the thriving Xbox gaming ecosystem.

Galloway says TickTalk could give Microsoft one day to compete with the likes of Netflix (NFLX) on streaming. In my focus group, not anyone else, Tiktok has cut down on Netflix time. If you’re looking for half an hour of screen time before bed, you can take a chance on a scripted show or movie that can’t get out of the pan, or you go through 60 clips and five laughs, Three sacred cows can get, and at least one I-not-know-raccoons-could-do-that.
Galloway says TickTalk is demonstrative like Instagram, but has turned into bliss, while Instagram is “meant to communicate to other people how much better your life is than theirs.” After using TikTok, he says, “You probably feel good, and maybe even a little better about yourself, and I’m not sure that’s true when you come out of Instagram.”
Facebook wants Last week, it launched a new Instagram service called Reels, which allows people to create videos, add music and effects and share them like TicTalk. The stock jumped 6% on the news.
It is unclear whether my Tiktok adventure is a passing phase. I tried a trick the other day from a dance instruction video. The dog grew up, and my robot vacuum tried to throw itself down the stairs. Don’t worry: I have a good sense of posting the video, at least of all my attempts to get down. There is not even an algorithm with a rival government that is eligible to see.
Write Jack Half at [email protected] Follow her on twitter And subscribe to his Barone’s Streetwide podcast.


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