Is Microsoft attempting to make a move in Social Media? Recent acquisition attempts & a newly granted patent would suggest its possible
It was reported back in February by OnMSFT.com that Microsoft appears to be attempting to re-enter the social media market after failing to get their So.cl (social) network viable years ago. Flash forwarding to 2021 and we learn that Microsoft first tried to acquire the U.S. operations of TikTok last year and then the Financial Times reported in February that Microsoft tried to acquire Pinterest for $51 Billion but failed. Who's next? Who knows, but it's clear that Microsoft would like to acquire a popular social media company to kickstart their entry back into social media.
The Financial Times further noted that "A social media site where millions of users post images of things they are interested in or might want to buy on “boards” could turn into an important source of data for customers of Microsoft’s marketing services, while also acting as raw material for training the company’s AI systems."
Playing into the reports that Microsoft is attempting a run at social media is the fact that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published Microsoft's granted patent 10,972,531 titled "Social media driven information interface."
In their patent background Microsoft notes that "many users post and share information through various social networking services. In an example, a user may use a mobile device to capture a soccer championship game photo of a player scoring a winning goal. The user may upload the soccer championship game photo to an image sharing service for other users to view, comment on, share, and/or the like. The user may tag the soccer championship game photo with a hashtag, such as #championshipgoal, which may facilitate discovery of the championship game photo by other users performing an image search."
Microsoft further noted in their patent filing that in another example, multiple users of a microblog discussion service may engage in a microblog discussion regarding a recent political debate. In this way, users may share information through image sharing services, microblog discussion services, social network profiles, and/or a variety of other social networking services.
By reading their patent background, we can now understand why Microsoft was so interested in acquiring Pinterest.
Microsoft's granted patent relates to, among other things, one or more systems and/or techniques for populating an information interface based upon social media data. Users may share, discuss, and/or discover information relating to entities (e.g., a soccer player, a new restaurant chain, a city, a new car, etc.) and/or events (e.g., a hurricane, birth of a royal baby, a tennis championship match, etc.) associated with a wide variety of topics through social media services, such as a photo sharing service, a social network, a microblog service, a search engine service, etc. Such social media data may be obtained from one or more social media sources.
In an embodiment, the social media data may be grouped into sets of social media data based upon temporal information. For example, a first set of social media data may be identified from the social media data based upon the first set of social media data corresponding to a first time range (e.g., social network posts, shared images, microblog discussions, and/or other social media entries corresponding to a particular day). In this way, the sets of social media data may correspond to social media entries occurring within particular time ranges, such as days of the year.
Microsoft's patent FIG. 1 below s a flow diagram illustrating an exemplary method of populating an information interface based upon social media data.
Microsoft's patent FIG. 2 below is a component block diagram illustrating an exemplary system for obtaining social media data.
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Microsoft's granted patent 10,972,531that was published earlier this week was originally filed back in Q4 2018. One of the inventors listed on the patent is Vasileios Kandylas: Data and Applied Scientist.
Clearly recent attempts of acquiring a new footprint into social media combined with their recently granted patent would strongly suggest that their goal of entering this market is still active. Whether Microsoft will continue to push this business plan forward or finally shelve it is unknown at this time.