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Microsoft-TikTok deal is a ‘poison chalice’, says Bill Gates

According to Bill Gates, being in the social media business is complicated just like the encryption issue. Here is what he said on the possible TikTok ban in the US. 

Social media is a tough business, says Gates
Social media is a tough business, says Gates (AP)

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates believes the company’s deal with TikTok is a “poison chalice.”

In an interview with Wired, Gates said that managing a social media is not simple, akin to the ongoing encryption issue. While he favoured having more competition in the social media space, Gates described US President Donald Trump’s decision to ban TikTok as “pretty bizarre.”

“Who knows what’s going to happen with that deal. But yes, it’s a poison chalice. Being big in the social media business is no simple game, like the encryption issue,” he said.

When asked about whether he was wary about Microsoft entering the social media space, Gates responded, “I mean, this may sound self-serving, but I think that the game being more competitive is probably a good thing. But having Trump kill off the only competitor, it’s pretty bizarre.”

Gates is also critical of Trump’s comments that the US government should get a cut in the sale of TikTok’s US operations.

“I agree that the principle this is proceeding on is singly strange. The cut thing, that’s doubly strange. Anyway, Microsoft will have to deal with all of that,” he added.

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The TikTok deal is said to help Microsoft enter the social media space with an existing massive userbase. It is worth noting that Microsoft has no big offering in the social networking space, which is currently dominated by the likes of Facebook and Twitter. ByteDance-owned TikTok fast emerged as a new solid competitor with massive userbase in key markets such as India.

That said, Gates is not the only one who is critical of the possible ban on TikTok in the US. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the ban would set a bad long-term precedent. In the recent hearing with the US Congress Zuckerberg had also mentioned TikTok as one of the reasons why Facebook did not have a monopoly on social networking.