Sep 21, 2020

TikTok appears to reach US deal with Oracle, Walmart

TikTok
ByteDance
Walmart
Oracle
William Smith
2 min
Video-sharing app TikTok and its owner ByteDance have reached an agreement that will allow the app to continue operating in the US
Video-sharing app TikTok and its owner ByteDance have reached an agreement that will allow the app to continue operating in the US...

Video-sharing app TikTok and its owner ByteDance have reached an agreement that will allow the app to continue operating in the US.

The app, which has 45.4 million users in the United States, is the sixth largest social media app worldwide above the likes of Twitter, LinkedIn and Reddit thanks to its 800 million users. Its owner, ByteDance, is meanwhile the world’s most valuable technology unicorn, at $140bn. 

It has been embroiled in controversy ever since a ban on the app was first mooted on 7 July, since which time a number of suitors have been suggested as possible buyers of its US business, including Microsoft and Oracle.

The latter has now partnered with retail giant Walmart to take stakes in a new US-based company called TikTok Global, with ByteDance reportedly taking 80%.

The deal received President Trump’s blessing over the weekend, while it still needs to be approved by the US government.

Nevertheless, TikTok claimed victory, with interim CEO Vanessa Pappas issuing a statement saying: “We're pleased that today we've confirmed a proposal that resolves the Administration's security concerns and settles questions around TikTok's future in the US. Our plan is extensive and consistent with previous CFIUS resolutions, including working with Oracle, who will be our trusted cloud and technology provider responsible for fully securing our users' data.” 

The deal has come down to the wire, with the Commerce Department on Friday issuing a press release saying it was prohibiting transactions and accusing TikTok of collecting “vast swaths of data” and being part of “China’s civil-military fusion”.

In related news, a US judge has blocked the associated attempt from the US government to ban Chinese messaging and payments app WeChat. The Tencent-owned app was granted the reprieve after a group of WeChat Users in the US challenged the ruling on the basis of free speech. 

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Jun 18, 2021

Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR

Microsoft
NASCAR
3 min
Racing fans can expect the ultimate virtual experience as a result of the partnership with Microsoft and NASCAR

Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).

These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack. 

“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”

“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”

“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR

  • Empower employees productivity and collaboration
  • Improve fan engagement and experience
  • Improve environment security and IT productivity
  • Improve racing operations

 

Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.

“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”

“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives. 

“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.

Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”

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