2020 strikes again: Walmart is hoping to get its hands on TikTok

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Right, so Microsoft is keen (for a given value of the word ‘keen’) and the likes of Oracle is interested in TikTok, a company that currently has Trump problems. What is the most unlikely company to throw into this unusual stew? How about… Walmart? That makes perfect sense for 2020, doesn’t it?

Particularly since, as the New York Times reports, Walmart is hoping to partner up with Microsoft in order to take control of the service for most of the Western world. The sum being thrown around for acquisition? Anywhere from $20 to $50 billion.

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The question really is: why would these companies want to spend stupid amounts of money on TikTok, a service that doesn’t seem to have much of a point beyond fun (for its users). And the answer to that is data. Microsoft’s got a whole lot going on in the hardware and software spaces and not a whole lot in social media. But it also has a history of leaving its purchases alone if they’re doing fine, dipping in to either improve or borrow from them. Minecraft, anyone? Walmart, if they’re smart, will put up some cash and then use the only thing about TikTok actually valuable to them — the user’s data — to plump up their existing business. Walmart certainly shouldn’t be calling the shots.

Why wouldn’t you want a social media company aimed approximately at teenagers to be controlled by Microsoft, a tech giant, and Walmart, an American shopping juggernaut?  Well, who owns a company actually matters. Yahoo famously bought Tumblr for $1.1 billion, with the website declining in value over the next few years. Verizon acquired Tumblr along with Yahoo in 2017 before selling off the decimated brand for about $3 million in  2019.

Now, that may have had something to do with all sorts of boneheaded decisions designed to make Tumblr more sale-worthy but there’s no guarantee that the same thing won’t happen to the hottest property on the internet. Unless, that is, Walmart and Microsoft are willing to throw money their way and just let them do their own thing. Which… might just be the way that things play out.

Source: The New York Times

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