TikTok has been in the news in recent months for a litany of potential security and privacy concerns that revolve around its alleged relationship with the Chinese government. These issues have spurred the Trump administration to move to ban the short video social media app in the US. The threat of a ban has opened an opportunity for a US company to purchase the ByteDance-owned app.
One company that has expressed interest in TikTok’s regional operations is Microsoft, which published a blog post stating that it will continue discussions on a potential TikTok purchase in the US. The purchase would allow Microsoft to own and operate TikTok’s operations in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Additionally, the US tech giant said it may invite other US-based investors to participate in the deal on a minority basis.
This wouldn’t be Microsoft’s first foray into the social media space as in June 2016 the company bought Linkedin for $26.2 billion. A deal for TikTok will likely be more complex, especially as the US governemnt will be deeply involved. For instance, President Trump has suggested that the US government should receive a protion of the sale price.
Let’s meet the key employees Microsoft will likely turn to in order to close a deal for TikTok.
To ensure the US government doesn’t scuttle the deal, Microsoft will need to turn to its Corporate Vice President of US Government Affairs, Fred Humphries. Humphries manages Microsoft’s federal and state government affairs teams. He relies on his almost 20 years of state, federal, campaign, and association experience to help the tech giant accomplish its regulatory goals. His experience will be critical in convincing members of the government to support its possible purchase and operation of TikTok’s US business.
Bret Arsenault, Microsoft’s Chief Information Security Officer, will play a large role in ensuring the app meets all security requirements and placating concerns regulators may have. Arsenault could also be helped by Julie Brill, the company’s Chief Privacy Officer and Deputy General Counsel for Global Privacy & Regulatory Affairs, as she is responsible for privacy, data protection, and other regulatory issues.
After the acquisition Chris Capossela, Microsoft’s Chief Marketing Officer and EVP of its worldwide Consumer Business, will be an integral part of the TikTok’s success. As CMO, Capossela runs marketing across both the consumer and commercial businesses, which includes product marketing for all Microsoft services and products. If Microsoft gains control of TikTok’s US operations, Capossela will have his work cut out for him as he attempts to win over a consumer base that has spent weeks listening to warnings not to download the social media app due to privacy concerns.
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