UPDATE: Oracle Beats Microsoft To TikTok Deal
Oracle has won the battle for the US operations of TikTok, reports say, after the app’s Chinese owner ByteDance rejected Microsoft’s offer to buy the app amid the security stoush between Washington and Beijing.
According to reports in Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, Trump supporter Larry Ellison’s Oracle is set to be named TikTok’s “trusted tech partner” in the US, with the deal not to be structured as an outright sale; instead, Oracle will assume control of US user data for TikTok and may also take a stake in TikTok’s US assets.
The New York Times reported earlier that ByteDance knocked back the joint bid from Microsoft and retail giant Walmart, leaving Oracle as the sole remaining publicly known bidder for the short-video service.
“ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok’s US operations to Microsoft. We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users, while protecting national security interests.
“To do this, we would have made significant changes to ensure the service met the highest standards for security, privacy, online safety, and combatting disinformation, and we made these principles clear in our August statement. We look forward to seeing how the service evolves in these important areas,” said Microsoft in a statement.
Time was running out for TikTok to find a US buyer after President Donald Trump last month issued an executive order that would effectively ban it from operating in the United States under its current Chinese ownership.
ByteDance must sell the app by September 20 or be forced to shut it down; however, its efforts have been complicated by reports that Beijing is reluctant to allow a sale for fear of being seen as weak for capitulating to pressure from Washington, and would rather see it taken offline than sold to American buyers. In a statement to Reuters, ByteDance said it has never received suggestions by Beijing to shut down TikTok rather than sell it overseas.
Late last month, Chinese authorities added several AI technologies used by the app – including speech recognition, text recognition, and data analysis for personalised content recommendations – to an export control list, meaning ByteDance would need to obtain government approval to sell TikTok overseas. It is unclear whether the Trump administration will