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How Silicon Valley Is Rewiring Downing Street’s Brain

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Last month, Boris Johnson, the U.K.’s prime minister, delivered a speech in the industrial town of Dudley about his plan to lead the country out of the pandemic with large-scale investment projects. The most noteworthy feature of the speech was his mantra-like repetition of “build,” a word that appeared no fewer than 32 times in his speech and, for good measure, three times on a sign on his lectern.   

The prominence of the word was no coincidence. Johnson’s chief aide, Dominic Cummings, had picked it up from a couple of influential essays written by his favorite Silicon Valley thinkers, according to a person close to Johnson.  

One of them was an April essay entitled “It’s Time to Build” by venture capitalist Marc Andreessen—a critique of the West’s lack of preparedness for the coronavirus—in which he repeated some version of the word 41 times. A few days later, Ben Thompson, the influential analyst behind the Stratechery blog, took Andreessen’s ideas a step further in his own essay,“How Tech Can Build,” laying out a plan for putting the venture capitalist’s ideas into practice.

Source: https://www.theinformation.com/articles/how-silicon-valley-is-rewiring-downing-streets-brain

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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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