The pushback against Tiktok, the complicated merger of Microsoft-Activision and Rogers-Shaw and Big Tech’s financial woes.
With the new year coming to a close, it is time to take a look back at the top stories of the year. Welcome to Hashtag Trending, I’m your host, Asha Pamma, and in this two-episode special, we list down the top eight tech stories that unfolded in 2022.
- pushback against tiktok
TikTok, the popular Chinese short-form video app, hit headlines in late 2022 after several states in the US announced closure measures on the platform, highlighting national security concerns and fears that users’ information could end up in the hands of Chinese authorities. Has been , In 2020, the platform avoided a national ban after being pushed by Trump’s administration over similar concerns. Now, at least seven states, including Alabama, Maryland, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah and Texas, have said they will block public employees from using the app on government devices. Last week, the state of Indiana announced two lawsuits against the platform, alleging that it misrepresented age-appropriate content and its approach to data security. However, not much has been done at the federal level and pushback is mainly coming from states led by Republican governors, leading to politically charged discussions about a ban of the platform. Neither of the current pushbacks is likely to disrupt how daily users access the app. Senator Marco Rubio of the Senate Intelligence Committee has therefore introduced a new law that aims to ban TikTok from operating in the US. In response, TikTok said it is working with the US government to address these national security concerns and has reportedly taken independent steps to separate US user data from other parts of its business.
2. Microsoft-Activation merger
The beginning of 2022 was marked by the largest tech deal in history, with the announcement of the acquisition of video game publisher Activision Blizzard for $95.00 per share, a record all-time high of US$68.7 billion. Was in cash transaction. Following the completion of the planned acquisition in August 2022, Microsoft was set to become the world’s third largest gaming company behind Sony and Tencent. However the proposed merger has faced months of resistance from competitor Sony which makes the competing PlayStation console. Microsoft also faced concerns from antitrust watchdogs around the world about losing access to popular Activision Blizzard game franchises like Call of Duty. Microsoft responded by promising to make Call of Duty available to Nintendo for 10 years should the acquisition go through and said it had made the same offer to Sony. In the latest developments, the acquisition has now been blocked by the Federal Trade Commission due to concerns that the tech giant will control too much of the video game market. Microsoft suggested in a statement that it would challenge the FTC’s decision.
3. Big Tech Bad Earnings Call
In the last week of October, Big Tech faced its lowest earnings call in years. Alphabet, Amazon, Meta and Microsoft all reported declining share prices and revenues, after decades of uncoordinated growth, as they faced the effects of inflation, rising interest rates and a looming recession. It was reported that the four companies wiped out a combined US$350 billion in market cap. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, saw revenue growth decline to 6 percent from 41 percent a year earlier. Meta reported a 20 per cent drop in share price following a sustained decline in revenue in 2022 and the current quarter. In the last week of October, Meta’s shares were trading at US$100.55, the lowest since 2016. Both Microsoft and Amazon also failed to meet analysts’ expectations in their October earnings calls, following which shares of both companies tumbled. Apple was the only tech giant that beat its quarterly earnings expectations, reporting record revenue of US$90.1 billion, an increase of 8 percent, reflecting steady demand for phones and computers.
4. Rogers-Shaw merger
2022 was certainly a bumpy one for the Rogers-Shaw merger saga. In March 2021, Rogers proposed a $26 billion acquisition of Shaw Communications, a move that would reduce the number of Canadian wireless operators from four to three. Shortly afterwards, Canada’s Competition Bureau blocked the merger, arguing that the deal would harm competition. To address these concerns, Rogers and Shaw announced in August 2022 the sale of Shaw’s wireless carrier company, Freedom Mobile, to Videotron, a subsidiary of Quebecor. But that failed to convince antitrust regulators who oppose the telcos in a court battle in November 2022. At the time of recording this episode, the final verdict of this legal battle is yet to be pronounced. If the tribunal approves the deal, the companies will apply to Canada’s Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, who has the final say.
And that was part two of our trending stories for 2022. Thanks for listening to the hashtags trending this year. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home Daily Briefing. Be sure to sign up for our daily IT Wire newsletter to get important news straight to your inbox every day. Happy new year!