What Microsoft Could Do With TikTok!

I have been loving TikTok for quite a while. Not only is it entertaining, positive, and fun to use – it demonstrates a groundbreaking new design, one that clearly works well (800 million users!). And while you may think the company is a bunch of hackers, that’s not true. ByteDance is a sophisticated software company with more than 70,000 employees doing business in 150 countries, building software at scale.

As I’ve gotten to know the app, I was always amazed at its subtle and innovative design. It’s fast, highly interactive, clean, and easy to use. People learn to use it quickly, and they can reuse designs from others to quickly build content. And the company has carefully avoided advertising, porn, and misuse. I’m sure there’s some angry stuff on there, but in my experience, it’s 99% positive.

Microsoft just announced plans to buy the company and this could be a big asset for Microsoft. Not only does it propel Microsoft directly into competition with Facebook (I’m sure Mark Zuckerberg has been focused on killing TikTok for a while), it gives the company a lot more as well. Here are a few things that go through my mind:

  • Imagine, for example, if there was a “jobs” or “company” channel in TikTok, one that could let employers create innovative job postings, as fun and entertaining as the app is today? This could become a huge add-on to LinkedIn’s recruiting business – creating a massive new advertising channel for jobs.
  • What if TikTok was used for corporate training? I’ve often told training vendors that the model for micro-learning is not YouTube, it’s TikTok. We could all use TikTok’s to create easy to understand “how do I…” videos that would work better than ever. (I’ve noticed a lot of TikTok’s that show you how to configure your iPhone for example – imagine the power of doing that for all the other training apps at work.) It is essentially a nano-learning platform and has a content development and content management platform included. Imagine the public education channel that could be created!
  • What if TikTok was sold for internal corporate communications?  Would your company want to have a “TikTok-like” channel for internal communications, perhaps connected to Microsoft Teams? Workplace by Facebook, which is a runaway success, shows how amazingly powerful a consumer product can be once it’s locked down for corporate use. Goodbye boring internal corporate employee directories: we’ll all have TikTok profiles.
  • And then, of course, there’s the enormous market for entertainment. I don’t know that market well, but Microsoft already generates more than $2 Billion in its X-box business – there are big opportunities here as well.
  • And finally, of course, Microsoft would get a pretty solid engineering team. The company knows well how difficult it is to hire great software engineers – they would be an important asset over time.

Remember, also, that TikTok is a “creator platform.” It unleashes the creativity in people of all ages – and many of these segments (young people, for example), don’t think much of Microsoft. TikTok makes Microsoft “cool” to them and helps the company stay youthful in its brand and reach.  (Facebook and Instagram are already showing their age and losing market share to SnapChat, TikTok, and new rivals Triller and Byte.)

TikTok, Triller, Byte

Microsoft Is A Company We Can Trust

Unlike Facebook and Google, who are undergoing anti-trust scrutiny, Microsoft is an “elder statesman” in the tech market. (It has already been through a trust-busting experience.) The company is responsible, ethical, and highly focused on doing the right thing for society. In the early days Microsoft, too, was a sharp-elbowed competitive place. Today it’s filled with innovation, quality, and teamwork.

(Witness Microsoft’s innovation. Teams is taking over the corporate collaboration market and Microsoft Edge is now considered a faster and more modern browser than Chrome. I’ve been playing Edge and I’m pretty impressed. For those of you my age you remember the browser wars of the last few decades and how hard it was for Microsoft to unseat Netscape and Google.)

I have no inside information about what’s going on, but the more I think about it the better this deal seems. Let’s keep our eyes open.

Not only could this be good for TikTok and Microsoft (and LinkedIn), it could the move that finally puts Facebook back on its heels.

(PS If you haven’t tried it, I pretty much guarantee you’ll find it a kick.)