Happy Thursday, TTN readers! Chips (not chocolate) and privacy take center stage this week. I’m on with Mark Starling, Seth, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week: regulators approve chip deal allowing AMD to gobble up Xilinx, Facebook is pissed at Apple once again because of latest iOS update, and TikTok is being scrutinized AGAIN for potentially sharing data to China. You can listen to Mark and I point and laugh while talking about the wild and crazy technology world every Thursday morning, LIVE at 6:43am Eastern by tuning into WWNC on the iHeartRadio app.
A couple of years ago, President Donald Trump thought TikTok was a bane on US consumers. He claimed the app was sending personal information and usage to its parent company, ByteDance, in China. Former President Trump even tried to force a sale of the company, and as wacky tech deals go, WalMart was in talks. Fast forward to the present and the Biden administration is considering new rules to force foreign made app companies to undergo a source code review to determine if the apps send data back ‘home’. These rules are being considered after the Chinese government has cracked down on its local tech scene. TikTok is banned in China in favor of a competing app called Douyin. We’ll have to wait and see what happens next.
As microchip supplies negatively impact every market from cars to computers, Chinese, US, and European regulators have approved the tech world’s latest megadeal, AMD’s purchase of Xilinx for $35 billion with a ‘B’. Xilinx makes a special kind of processor that’s specific for embedded applications like cars, appliances, and other devices that don’t require full-blown microprocessors like the Intel Pentium, Apple M1, or AMD’s K chips. The deal lets AMD compete in the market to supply chips to car manufacturers and others in a bid to best Intel. Government regulators have disliked semiconductor mega deals and have blocked Nvidia’s purchase of ARM (a maker of phone processors), and China’s blocking of Qualcomm buying NXP Semiconductor. Countries every are trying to protect semiconductor industries as supply is low an future depends on chips. The Chinese government allowed the sale as long as AMD continues to supply chips to the Chinese market and doesn’t discriminate against the country. For the first time, AMD surpassed Intel’s market cap this week.
This week, Apple CEO, Time Cook, took a shot at Facebook by saying, “If a business is built on misleading users, on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all, it does not deserve our praise. It deserves reform.” Tim shot his shot after announcing Apple will be increasing user privacy in its latest iOS 14.5 update. Apple will require apps to ask for permission before using the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) ID on iPhones. The IDFA is a special identifier that is baked into every iOS device and is used be advertisers to send targeted ads and measure ad effectiveness. According to Facebook, up to 80% of its users will opt to say, “no,” and could cut its ad revenues by half. Facebook is also saying small businesses will be hurt the most because they can’t get their ads pushed.
Bonus Analysis: I’m not so sure about that. Facebook’s algorithms are already gamed against small advertisers. The average small business doesn’t have a large budget to spend across many social networks. And real metrics proves that if you aren’t spending THOUSANDS of dollars a month, consistently, on these platforms your content isn’t being seen by a critical mass. The dollar-to-eyeballs ROI just isn’t there. So, so saying small businesses are going to get hurt the most plays well to the politicos who are itching to regulate Big Tech. The reality is that this change will hurt Facebook because they’ll get less impressions and maybe small businesses can spend their resources on more effective growth strategies.