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Microsoft’s TikTok Risk: The Information’s Tech Briefing

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One of the unexplored questions about Microsoft’s interest in TikTok is why it wants to do a deal that would plunge  the company into one of the most controversial political debates of the past few years: how to deal with hate speech and other contentious content. 

This is a briar patch Microsoft has mercifully avoided up until now. One former Microsoft ad product manager, Dare Obasanjo, captured the issue in a tweet Thursday: “Still scratching my head on the Microsoft acquisition here. Other MSFT consumer services like Skype/XBox Live/Minecraft do not have the ability for hate speech to be broadcasted and observed by the media at scale. This is breaking the brand into jail.”

Source: https://www.theinformation.com/articles/microsofts-tiktok-risk-the-informations-tech-briefing

Venture Capital

Tech Firms Leapt Into Remote Work. Now Comes the Hard Part

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Over the summer, Zillow Group joined a swarm of companies telling employees they would never have to return to their offices on a regular basis. This marked a reversal for the online home-buying firm, which had leased some of Seattle’s most expensive real estate and added amenities like air hockey and pingpong. But after a few weeks working remotely in the early phase of the pandemic, most employees said they were happier working at home.

This week, Zillow CEO Rich Barton and his lieutenants took on a more complicated task—explaining to the company’s 5,500 employees how it will implement the new policy after the pandemic wanes, when about 35% of Zillow’s staff are expected to work from offices at least occasionally. In doing so, Barton, like other tech CEOs, must grapple with competing employee and business needs, with little visibility into what works best.

Many employees at Zillow and other companies don’t want to return to a Monday-to-Friday office commute. Yet managers know remote work can make it harder for employees to collaborate and, especially for working parents, get their jobs done.

Source: https://www.theinformation.com/articles/tech-firms-leapt-into-remote-work-now-comes-the-hard-part

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Private Equity

Venture Capital: SpaceX Is “Mission Control” For Space Economy; Long-Term Value $100B

Analysts at Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) on Thursday doubled their estimated value of SpaceX, Elon Musk’s startup focused on launch rockets, satellite broadband, and (in the future) point-to-point space travel. Significant events since the last evaluation in July led the analysts to revise their long term estimate to $100 billion.

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Venture Capital: SpaceX Is “Mission Control” For Space Economy; Long-Term Value $100B

https://dailyalts.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/iss062e085678-SpaceX-Dragon-nasa.jpg

Analysts at Morgan Stanley have doubled their valuation of Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) on Thursday doubled their estimated value of SpaceX, Elon Musk’s startup focused on launch rockets, satellite broadband, and (in the future) point-to-point space travel. Significant events since the last evaluation in July led the analysts to revise their long term estimate to $100 billion. (CNBC)

Rapid progress

Since July, SpaceX has apparently been on a roll and notched up several achievements:

  • Won hundreds of millions of dollars worth of contracts from the Pentagon
  • Launched hundreds of Starlink satellites into orbit for its satellite broadband project
  • Conducted two test flights of its Starship rocket
  • Carried NASA astronauts on a test flight into space
  • A funding round that commenced in August valued the company at $44 billion

Citing the above milestones, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jones remarked: “SpaceX continues to solidify its place as ‘mission control’ for the emerging space economy.”

SpaceX businesses in a virtuous circle

“The pieces are coming together for SpaceX to create an economic and technological flywheel,” Jonas observed.

Jonas said SpaceX was applying its launch cost advantage to hasten the deployment of the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite broadband network. The startup is likely to dominate the satellite broadband sector and its success would attract large capital inflows at competitive rates. This cash could then circle back into the launch business and help to “develop even more capable launch architectures (Starship) that further deepens and widens the moat in satellite launch costs.”

Changes in valuation assumptions

The analysts have revised their estimated valuation of SpaceX due to “changes in our underlying assumptions in the Launch and Starlink units.”

SpaceX would use its Starship rocket to launch hundreds of satellites in one go. These rockets would also play a vital role in the launch market and generate $67 million per launch with an operating profit of 20% in a couple of decades.

Starship is a reusable rocket that can launch large-mass cargo and up to 100 people on space missions. According to Jonas, it would cost SpaceX roughly between $5.6 billion and $8 billion to fully develop Starship.

Meanwhile, rapid progress towards commercial service on Starlink called for an upward revision of its valuation.

Valuation estimates

SpaceX                                       $B Base Case Bullish Case Bear Case
Rockets Business 11.7 52.5 5.4
Starlink 80.9 132.8
Point-to-Point Space Travel 8.7 17.4
Total Valuation 101.3 202.7 5.4

Related Story:   Elon Musk’s SpaceX Breaks Funding and Launch Records

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Source: https://dailyalts.com/venture-capital-spacex-is-mission-control-for-space-economy-long-term-value-100b/

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Venture Capital

Microsoft Bashes Slack Complaint in European Antitrust Filing

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Microsoft has privately told European competition authorities that Slack’s antitrust complaint against the tech giant was motivated essentially by sour grapes.

In a recent confidential filing, Microsoft told the European Commission, which oversees competition regulation, that Slack brought its complaint against Microsoft because the lockdown prompted by the coronavirus pandemic has exposed deficiencies in Slack’s messaging product, according to a person who has seen the complaint. In the filing, which runs about 40 pages, Microsoft said the sudden surge in people working from home this year has made more apparent shortcomings in Slack’s product, including its handling of videoconferencing, while also benefiting Microsoft’s competing Teams software, the person said.

Source: https://www.theinformation.com/articles/microsoft-bashes-slack-complaint-in-european-antitrust-filing

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