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Alphabet’s Remote Work Extension: The Information’s Tech Briefing

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There has been a lot written about how the pandemic affects businesses very differently. One subject that maybe hasn’t received as much attention as it should: how businesses cope with the long-term impact of remote work on productivity and employees’ mental health.

Google’s decision to delay a return to work for its employees until June of next year puts that subject in the spotlight. Assuming that date sticks—and of course, there is no particular reason why it will—it would mean 15 months of remote work. And yet, there already is evidence that after just four months, remote work is hurting productivity at some companies, as this Wall Street Journal story detailed last week. Indeed, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said a couple of months ago that productivity was down in some parts of the company.

Source: https://www.theinformation.com/articles/alphabets-remote-work-extension-the-informations-tech-briefing

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Microsoft’s Talks to Buy TikTok Follow Headwinds for Investor Plan

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Microsoft is in serious talks to acquire TikTok, the hugely popular Chinese-owned video app, The Information has confirmed, after separate talks for a U.S. investor group to buy the app ran into headwinds on both political and business grounds.

Senior ByteDance executives see Microsoft as more able to afford Tiktok, which could be worth $30 billion or more, and to have a management team that could absorb the app more easily than if it was a standalone company. ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming also has ties to Microsoft, having worked there early in his career. TikTok’s global general counsel Erich Andersen also has a strong Microsoft connection: he joined TikTok in January after 20 years at the software giant.

Source: https://www.theinformation.com/articles/microsofts-talks-to-buy-tiktok-follow-headway-for-investor-plan

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Microsoft Talks to TikTok: The Information’s Tech Briefing

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News that Microsoft is in talks to buy TikTok raises all sorts of fascinating questions. Microsoft in recent years has been much more focused on selling to business customers than individuals; TikTok would take them in the opposite direction. The closest fit within Microsoft’s business would be its Xbox gaming division, although it isn’t that close. 

It also would raise Microsoft’s exposure to the advertising business, which isn’t ideal for Microsoft shareholders. One reason why Microsoft has skated through the pandemic largely unaffected is its lack of dependency on ad revenue. One big question is whether antitrust regulators would approve the deal. True, this is a new area for Microsoft. But one of the concerns expressed by politicians in recent days is the influence of big tech. A TikTok acquisition wouldn’t reduce a big tech company’s power.

It would, however, create a formidable rival to Facebook and Google’s YouTube, both of which compete with TikTok. For that reason alone, antitrust regulators may be happy.—Martin Peers

Source: https://www.theinformation.com/articles/microsoft-talks-to-tiktok-the-informations-tech-briefing

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The Information’s 411 — Cyberpunk Barons

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It was a big week for tech and politics as the four leaders of the major U.S. tech companies testified in front of the House Antitrust subcommittee. We spoke to Alex Heath and Chris Stern about which CEOs weathered the questions from lawmakers best and where the antitrust investigations go from here. Then Cory speaks to Anissa Gardizy about delivery startup GoPuff and the problems its skyrocketing growth has caused for its neighbors.

Source: https://www.theinformation.com/articles/the-informations-411-cyberpunk-barons

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