Walmart, Microsoft Teaming On TikTok Bid

Walmart says it’s teaming up with Microsoft in a bid for TikTok. The retail giant confirmed to CNBC that it’s interested in buying the popular short-form video application. Walmart shares are up nearly 5% on the news.

How TikTok’s Talks With Microsoft Turned Into A Soap Opera

Neither side wanted a big deal. But what began as talks about a small investment ballooned with interventions from President Trump.

 

Microsoft Confirms Talks To Buy TikTok

In a statement Sunday, Microsoft said it and Chinese company ByteDance have provided notice of their intent to explore a deal resulting in Microsoft owning and operating the TikTok service in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The company said it expects those talks to conclude by Sept. 15.

TVN TECH

TVN Tech | COVID-19 Speeding Broadcasters’ Shift To Cloud

The coronavirus pandemic has amped up the transition to cloud-based workflows as broadcasters have employed as many remote operations as possible. The next frontier: an acceleration of live production applications in the cloud. Above, an Amazon Web Services Outpost cloud server.

Bill Gates Stepping Down From Microsoft Board

The billionaire announced Friday that he’s leaving the Microsoft board entirely as well as his seat on the board of Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate headed by fellow billionaire Warren Buffett. Gates said he plans to dedicate more time to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

FTC Launches Inquiry Into Big Tech Deals

The Federal Trade Commission has launched a lookback at some of the smaller past acquisitions by some of the largest tech companies. The FTC said Tuesday it has issued “special orders” to Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft, which require them to provide info on all acquisitions over the past decade (Jan. 1, 2010 through Dec. 31, 2019).

AT&T’s Xandr Adds The CW, Microsoft. More

The CW, Tastemade, AccuWeather and Microsoft Advertising have joined Community, a video advertising marketplace launched by Xandr, AT&T’s advertising and analytics division. Other Community partners include WarnerMedia’s CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, B/R Live, Otter Media and Warner Bros. along with A+E Networks, AMC Networks, Cheddar, Bloomberg, Vudu, VICE, Hearst Magazines, Newsy, Philo, Tubi and Xumo.

Microsoft Pushes FCC To Act On White Spaces

Microsoft is telling the FCC that wireless internet providers have been able to boost their throughput tenfold using the TV white spaces Microsoft wants more of, and said the FCC should act on its proposal seeking tweaks to the current white spaces regime.

Disney Moving Production To Microsoft Cloud

The companies collaborate to create new ways to transform content workflows in the Microsoft Azure cloud; Microsoft becomes a Disney Studios StudioLAB innovation partner.

Pai: White Spaces Await TV/Microsoft Consensus

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai suggested this week that the FCC is awaiting consensus among broadcasters and Microsoft before moving ahead with a proposal on freeing up the “white spaces” between and around post-incentive auction repacked TV channels for wireless broadband. That came in an FCC oversight hearing in the House Communications Subcommittee, where he said he hoped to bring the new white spaces regime to reality soon.

Microsoft Inks New Verizon Media Deal To Serve All Search Ads

Microsoft and Verizon Media announced the death, figuratively, of Yahoo search ads Thursday, with an updated search ad partnership across Bing, Yahoo and AOL networks. It makes all search inventory available through the Bing Ads platform.

Veterans Of News Biz Now Fighting Fakes

After raising $6 million, the start-up NewsGuard, co-founded by Steve Brill, has signed Microsoft as its first major client. The main goal: to combat the spread of false stories on the internet.

Did 2018 Usher In A Creeping Tech Dystopia?

High-tech tools for immigration crackdowns. Fears of smartphone addiction. YouTube algorithms that steer youths into extremism. An experiment in gene-edited babies. Doorbells and concert venues that can pinpoint individual faces and alert police. Repurposing genealogy websites to hunt for crime suspects based on a relative’s DNA. Automated systems that keep tabs of workers’ movements and habits. Electric cars in Shanghai transmitting their every movement to the government. It’s been enough to exhaust even the most imaginative sci-fi visionaries.

Microsoft Bing Expands Ad-Bidding Strategies

COMMENTARY BY PRESTON PADDEN

Padden: Beware Of Microsoft Spectrum Grab

“Microsoft’s bet seems to be that it’s cheaper to hire slick PR muscle and to try to hoodwink regulators into handing out free spectrum than to buy spectrum like everyone else. As someone whose 600 MHz auction battle scars are still healing, I sure hope they are wrong.”

Microsoft Rural ‘Net Plan Uses White Spaces

Microsoft is partnering with organizations across the country to form Connect Americans Now (CAN), a coalition that will pressure policymaker to help bring broadband internet access to rural America using unoccupied TV channels, or white spaces.

Endemol Shine Moving Production To Cloud

Global producer and distributor Endemol Shine Group today announced an agreement with Microsoft to introduce a new cloud-based production workflow system, built on Microsoft Azure, which has already been tested with reality show Big Brother.  The two companies are collaborating on a new production system and cloud service, using the latest cloud technology, analytics, APIs and biometrics, to develop advanced workflow applications and consumer facing […]

NEWS ANALYSIS

Tech Giants Find Themselves Hitting Limits

Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Alphabet and other tech giants are pushing deeper into cultural industries — and stumbling in ways that suggest a certain cluelessness

Policy Threats Intensify For Tech Giants

While tech giants like Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Apple have already stepped up their lobbying efforts, some say the companies will have to pay even more attention to policy in the coming years as regulators across the globe increase scrutiny.

COMMENTARY BY CRAIG FUGATE

Microsoft’s Broadband Plan Is Dangerous

Former FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate: Microsoft’s white spaces proposal to the FCC means that “a  television station or translator will likely be left without a landing slot on the TV dial and forced off the air forever in many markets throughout the country. As someone who has devoted his career to emergency management, I am concerned about any proposal that forces Americans to lose access to local television stations. Local TV is one of the most reliable and trusted ways for the public to get updates during life threatening emergencies.”

NAB Objects To Microsoft Spectrum Request

The association tells the FCC that “Microsoft is asking the commission to grant it spectrum for free, with no buildout requirements or service requirements of any kind — substantially better terms than winning auction bidders received.”

COMMENTARY BY KIEREN MCCARTHY

Microsoft’s 10-Year White Spaces Boondoggle

Microsoft has been pushing to use vacant TV channels for broadband communications for 10 years with nothing to show for it. And its latest plan for a rural service is not going anywhere either. “Even when you account for the interference problems. Even when you account for the real-time technological requirements. Even when you consider that it costs $1,000 to connect people to the network. The issue is that there is a very low concentration of people in the only areas that need this technology. And those people are not willing to pay much to get fast internet access.”

NAB’s Wharton Rips Microsoft Spectrum Grab

NAB chief spokesman Dennis Wharton calls Microsoft’s push to permit broadband traffic on vacant TV channels the “height of arrogance” in light of the software giant’s refusal to buy spectrum during the FCC incentive auction.

 

Microsoft To Unveil White Spaces Plan

At a Washington press conference today, Microsoft President Brad Smith will announce a plan to use unused TV channels — so-called white spaces — to bring broadband service to two million rural Americans over the next two years. Microsoft’s white spaces initiatives have already generated opposition from broadcasters.

NAB Tells FCC White Space Effort Is A Bust

NAB called out Microsoft today for continuing to advocate for an unused TV channel to be reserved nationwide for unlicensed TV-band white space device use. Microsoft has a decade-long history of underdelivering on its vision for the channels, NAB said in an ex parte letter today to the FCC.

 

COMMENTARY BY PATRICK MCFADDEN

We Don’t Need Microsoft’s Vacant Ch. Plan

NAB Associate General Counsel Patrick McFadden: “Microsoft is currently reminding [film] fans why some sequels should never be made. The latest entry in the tech giant’s Vacant Channel franchise is yet another heist movie based on a con game that’s too clever by half. According to Microsoft, it is urgent that the FCC reserve a vacant UHF white space channel in every market nationwide following the post-auction repack of broadcast television stations, and Microsoft maintains this reservation can be accomplished without causing harm to television stations. That’s nonsense on its face.”

Microsoft Hires Former FTC Commissioner

NAB 2017

Avid Moves It All To The Cloud

At the Avid Connect 2017 event in Las Vegas Saturday, company Chairman and CEO Louis Hernandez Jr. announced major steps on a journey to the cloud where broadcasters, post houses and other media professionals can realize greater operational efficiencies, easier collaboration and much-improved workflows.

Microsoft May Enter Twitter Bidding

Twitter has yet to enter a formal sale process, but that hasn’t stopped speculating — and leaks — accelerating. A source now tells CNBC that Facebook isn’t interested in submitting a bid, but Microsoft is a “potential suitor.” Neither Facebook nor Microsoft are commenting. Meanwhile, the potential sale could happen within the next 30-45 days, sources say. 

Microsoft Buying LinkedIn For About $26.2B

LinkedIn will remain an independent unit of Microsoft. It will keep its name, and current CEO Jeff Weiner will stay on and report directly to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

OTT Firms Push Back Against FCC Proposal

The nation’s biggest online video distributors would rather the FCC not do them any favors by regulating over-the-top services like it does cable. Representatives from Microsoft, Amazon and Apple, companies that haven’t been regulated by the FCC, have been increasing their face time at the FCC to keep the agency from advancing a proceeding that would regulate some OTT services like facilities-based multichannel video distributors.

Microsoft TV Ads Expand Social Presence

How does paid TV advertising affect a brand’s earned social media? Drawing a direct link between the two, new research from Nielsen shows how a recent Microsoft TV campaign significantly increased the brand’s social presence. Social TV activity — as opposed to TV viewership — is the key in driving earned media.

Tech, Media Support MIcrosoft In Privacy Case

A broad array of organizations in technology, media and other fields rallied on Monday behind Microsoft’s effort to block American authorities from seizing a customer’s emails stored in Ireland. The organizations filing supporting briefs in the Microsoft case included Apple, Amazon, Verizon, Fox News, National Public Radio, The Washington Post, CNN and almost two dozen other technology and media companies.

Microsoft Building Chromecast Competitor

Microsoft wants to give Windows Phone users a way to mirror their phone screen to the TV with a new dongle that just popped up in the FCC’s database.

Tech Giants Making Huge Play For Online TV

Following the success of Netflix and a fresh push by Amazon in online video, the battle of the tech giants is now moving into television with Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL, among some of the latest players. These moves come as a growing number of consumers are turning away from traditional television to online services such as Netflix, and with those providers looking to draw viewers by offering new, and not just recycled programs.

Microsoft Reportedly Plans To Return To CES

After abandoning the annual tech convention this year, the software giant is “officially back” in 2014, according to the conference’s governing group.

Microsoft CEO Ballmer To Retire In 12 Months

Microsoft Corp. did not name a successor. The company said it is forming a search committee that will include company founder Bill Gates. Ballmer will stay on until a replacement is found.

Tech Giants Rethinking How We Watch TV

Intel, Apple and others push new technologies to take control of the living room. However, these companies working on new Internet-based services are widely expected to face tough sledding in negotiating rights for video content.

Microsoft Pulls The Plug On MSN TV

Ahead of what many are expecting to be a major reorganization at Microsoft, the software giant has announced plans to pull the plug on MSN TV by Sept. 30. “All good things must eventually come to an end,” Microsoft said in a statement today. The company is expected to shortly unveil a broad restructuring, which will devote far more of the company’s attention to products and services.

TWC Talking With Apple About Streaming