September 25, 2020

Welcome to this week’s edition of the RoundUp. This week: Microsoft Corporation is in acquisition talks with Tiktok US;  Ebonyi State aligns Federal Government’s Right of Way pricing;  and so on.  Again,  thanks for reading,  sharing and recommending.  We appreciate it.

 

  • Nigeria’s early stage investor, Microtraction, has announced its new set of scouts. The Microtraction scouts are resource persons with domain expertise who help out in identifying growing start-ups eligible for investment. They include Uyai Editi-Effiong,  Tosin  Faniran-Dada, Wanjiru Chabeda and Octavius Phukubye of South Africa. Link

 

Why this is Important: Bias is actually an impediment in sourcing and funding start-ups. These  could be pronounced and sometimes,  even unknown.  With these scouts,  Microtraction gets to have a 360 degree view of all the angles around a startup, people running it and the environment it operates in.  Although we don’t know the terms but it should be an affordable means of sourcing for deals to fund for Microtraction. The choice of these scouts and their backgrounds is also a signal to its openness to funding start-ups not necessarily from Nigeria in the coming future with some focusing on Uganda and Rwanda.

 

  • Amid concerns and online protests that Tiktok maybe be banned in the US by President Trump, details emerged on Microsoft Corporation’s intention to acquire Tiktok US. Tiktok has been mired in series of accusations and controversies over its relationship with China’s Communist Party,  data privacy and collection.  It has tried clearing these doubts by appointing an American CEO from Disney,  floating a Creators Fund and $50m Creative Learning Fund for emerging teachers.  It still seems these initiatives are not enough to save it. Link

 

Why this is Important:  For Microsoft,  this is another arrow in its quiver of products for distribution and advertising.  With the acquisition of Github which is a repository of tech creators and talents, Microsoft has some experience in managing talents which it could bring to this new acquisition.

For tech companies,  this is a teachable moment on the interrelationship between the country of origin of your product and its political relationship with other countries,  especially ones with opposing ideologies. Just about a month ago,  India fell out with China over a border dispute and subsequently,  banned 59 apps of Chinese origin in India. Tiktok was also affected. Again,  building for and targeting a particular region or country will now mean considering your country’s economic and military relationship before proceeding.

For users,  as politics differ around the world, we should accept the new reality of non-absolutely accepted and adopted product or service.  We would be seeing regionally-strong tech products with clones in other regions in future.

 

  • Ebonyi State government has joined the number of states in its South Eastern region to review downwards, its Right of Way charges to N145 a metre after Anambra and Imo states led the way. According to the document released,  it is ‘geared towards deepening of broadband internet penetration while also improving the ease of doing business in Ebonyi State’. Link

 

Why this is Important:  This bring almost,  if not all, the entire South Eastern states within the N145 per metre recommended Right of Way charge by the Federal Government in executing its Broadband Plan.  With calls for new economic centres and hubs beyond Lagos and Abuja,  Ebonyi has become a candidate for digital investments and destination.  However,  Ebonyi has set a period of 18 months for this new price regime. This should give it time to measure policy impact Ad success.

 

  • German courts have mandated that Facebook adheres to its data collection/privacy policy. This is in accordance with the country’s competition agency’s rules. Data collection,  analysis and monetization is key to Facebook’s business model.  Although Facebook has and already  exercised the right to appeal this decision. Link

 

Why this is Important: Germany being a major market for Facebook with about 90% hold,  and also a key member of the European Union economic bloc,  we might see the ripple effect in other European markets in the coming months.

This puts some pressures on Facebook to find growth beyond advertising which needs data and from markets with less stringent data regulations. Recall that EU  passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2016 to protect its citizens against excessive and unauthorized data collection.

 

 

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Chinedu Okoro
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