Bill Gates admitted he’s not the target audience for the popular social media app TikTok, but the Microsoft co-founder, weighing in on a potential acquisition by his former company, told Bloomberg Television that he believes in the tech giant when it comes to data security.
“We’ve made investments in China, we have engineers from all over the world, including in China,” Gates told Bloomberg’s Emily Chang. “Microsoft is very careful about its data promises. We won’t do things that are hostile, or viewed as hostile.”
Gates said he was as confused as anyone when it comes to trying to track what happened over the weekend between President Trump, Microsoft and TikTok parent company ByteDance and whether a sale should be forced or the app should be shut down in the U.S. Asked whether he’d like to see the app in the Microsoft family, Gates simply applauded the video platform’s innovation.
Bill Gates says Microsoft, which is in talks to acquire the U.S. business of Chinese-owned video app TikTok, is careful about promises to keep data safe and wouldn’t do anything viewed as “hostile” as it navigates U.S. and Chinese concerns https://t.co/K80AlXzmzP @emilychangtv pic.twitter.com/uJvU9sBqON
— Bloomberg (@business) August 5, 2020
“It’s nice that TikTok’s created some competition through innovation. It doesn’t seem like preventing that innovation from being available makes much sense when you want new things out there,” Gates said. “I’m certainly not an expert. I’ve gotten a lot of education from my youngest daughter about this and why she spends time on it.
“I’m focused on the [Bill & Melinda Gates] Foundation and the pandemic,” he added. “I’ll probably provide advice at some point, but I’m not at the center of the decision being made here.”
Chang did get Gates to weigh in on another hot-button topic, asking what he thought of the antitrust hearing in Congress last week and whether Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google have gotten “too powerful.” Gates said legitimate issues were raised, if in a “scattershot” way.
“These companies are shaping the economy, so the idea that Congressmen get to talk to their leaders and try and understand what they’re doing in terms of media and competition, that all makes sense,” said Gates, who joked that Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai may have gotten off easy compared to what he went through during Microsoft antitrust hearings 22 years ago.
“They were lucky there were four of them on the hot seat — I was all by myself with critics sitting next to me,” Gates said. “So I guess we’re getting nicer to CEOs than in the old days.”
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