TikTok survives the weekend — fate still uncertain
TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has been declared, by President Trump, banned from operating in the U.S. Watchers expected the service to be shut down over the weekend, but news of acquisition by Microsoft were confirmed on Sunday. Microsoft hopes to conclude a deal by September 15th. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: Microsoft has, with the exception of its Xbox division, been focusing on corporate and cloud-based computing. The company shut down its Mixer video game streaming service in June, encouraging users to shift to Facebook. Acquisition of TikTok would be Microsoft squarely in the social network business, in competition with Facebook. The move will be good for Facebook in the midst of anti-trust proceedings by Congress, as it will provide the company with an acceptable competitor that does not play in this space, possibly lessening pressure on Facebook. If Microsoft pays a market fee to ByteDance, then everyone may be a winner, with ByteDance’s investors making a large return, TikTok users continuing to enjoy the service, Microsoft gaining a lucrative business unit, and POTUS ensuring that exploitation of U.S. user data occurs only on U.S. soil.
Google buys stake in home security leader, ADT
ADT is the largest provider of professionally monitored home security services in the U.S. Google, with its Nest brand of smart thermostats, cameras and smart speakers/displays has been selling into homes mostly through retail and HVAC channels. Google’s investment of $450 million for 6.6% of ADT portends of Google products being sold through ADT’s team of salespeople and installers across the U.S. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: This move by Google could be the end of speculation regarding BigTech’s role in professionally installed security. For several years, the industry has been wondering when and how the giants will engage the pro-installed segment. With this partnership, Google can move directly into the professional channel, securing a share of the devices installed in each new home or small business served by the nation’s largest sales and installation team. The Google Nest Home Hub line could eventually serve as an alternative to the ADT “panel” — the heart and brain of a home security system. These components are currently supplied by Resideo (hardware) and Alarm.com (software). With its investment, Google will begin to enjoy a small share of the millions in recurring monthly revenues generated by ADT and can begin to edge out Amazon’s Alexa voice technology which is baked into ADT’s Command system. Declaring that Google will use the home security system to take over the entire home ecosystem and disrupt the current pro-install channel is premature, as there are many hurdles to doing so. What cannot be underestimated, however, is the ability to leverage Google’s advances in AI and cloud technology to offer a home automation and security system that is much smarter than anything in the field, including facial recognition, false alarm detection, smartphone integration, and “community monitoring.” The parties that will sleep less, as a result of this partnership, are Alarm.com and Resideo.
Bob and Doug splash down
The SpaceX and NASA team launch and recovery of astronauts to the International Space Station concluded on Sunday with a perfect landing. After 63 days in space, the two “Space Dads,” as they have become known, landed off the coast of Pensacola to a waiting gallery of private fishing and pleasure boats. The intact Dragon capsule was loaded onto a recovery ship where the space travelers were removed and whisked to the Pensacola Naval Air Station via helicopter. New York Times
dis-rup-shun: The flawless mission is an unmistakable and significant victory for many parties. First, for NASA and the U.S. Government, as it successfully selected, regulated and orchestrated a private third party in one of the largest private/public missions ever, demonstrating that the agency can work with a flashy and bold company such as SpaceX in a restrained, disciplined and safe manner. Secondly, this is, of course, a triumph for Elon Musk and his SpaceX team, as they have demonstrated their ability to send humans to space and return them very safely. Musk’s bold claims of frequent commercial flights to space and Mars landings seem much closer now. Finally, the mission was a great victory for technology. The Dragon craft, like a Tesla, is highly automated with elegant glowing touch screens that seem to suggest that the astronauts are simply there to watch the automation from a gaming chair. The fact that the mission performed flawlessly and to precise timings and landing points is confirmation that today’s technology, while not perfect, is astonishingly accurate.