Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has been leading the company back to its roots in business software and services, plus cloud computing. (GeekWire Photo Illustration)
Welcome to the Social!
That was the motto for the online community that Microsoft aspired to create around its Zune music player nearly 15 years ago. But the device and its companion social portal were destined to become just one of the tech giant’s failed attempts to launch or build consumer social networks, devices and apps.
Anybody remember Kin? How about Windows Phone?
I can’t wait for TikTok to join the illustrious group of successful Microsoft social collab and consumer products.
MSN, Messenger, Hotmail, PlaceWare, Skype, GroupMe, Zune, LinkedIn messaging, Sunrise, Accompli (O mobile has decayed), Wunderlist, Intentional, Mixer, … Oh wait.
— Laura🍪Butler (@LauraCatPJs) July 31, 2020
OK, so this isn’t entirely fair. It completely overlooks the Microsoft Xbox ecosystem of hardware, software and subscription services — one of the most durable consumer electronics brands on the planet. Not to mention consumer and home versions of Windows and Office, and of course the entire Microsoft Surface family of computers and devices.
But the clear trend at Microsoft under CEO Satya Nadella has been to focus on the company’s enterprise roots, cutting short its fanciful forays into consumer technology. Witness the recent decision to discontinue the Mixer game streaming service and the company’s decision this week to pull the plug on its Cortana voice assistant apps for iOS and Android.
All of this makes the reports that Microsoft is in negotiations to buy the U.S. operations of TikTok, the breakout social video app, a head-scratcher on multiple levels. The reports come as President Trump threatens to ban TikTok in the U.S., citing suspicions that the company’s China-based parent, ByteDance, is sharing user data with the Chinese government.
It’s not that Microsoft shies away from big bets in social networking. The biggest deal in company history, the $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, was a social network, after all. But that was all about business and professional users, with clear connections back to many of Microsoft’s core products.
That said, as noted by some longtime Microsoft followers, there could be potential connections between TikTok and Xbox and other consumer initiatives at Microsoft.
Agree, however I do see some interesting integration potential with Minecraft, Xbox (console, GameBar, xCloud) and even Skype (or consumer Teams).
— Rafael Rivera (@WithinRafael) July 31, 2020
“But before …read more