The soap opera TikTok headed for an outcome, but suddenly everything changed: the Microsoft, who openly expressed interest in the service, is out of business. Soon, the platform’s American operations may be taken over by the Oracle thanks to a partnership proposal announced on Monday (14).
TikTok is controlled by the Chinese ByteDance. The mess starts here: for the administration of Donald Trump, the social network – a global phenomenon with a large presence in the United States – functions as a spying tool for the Chinese government. The company has always denied it.
Given the seriousness of the charges, the sale of TikTok operations in the United States (and other parts of the world) to an American company would be a way to prevent the social network from being blocked or suffering another type of sanction.
In early August, Microsoft confirmed interest in the platform and acknowledged that its CEO, Satya Nadella, spoke with President Donald Trump about the deal.
But, two weeks later, another player emerged in this story: rumors that Oracle also considered acquiring TikTok operations in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand gained strength. This is a strong name, not only for the relevance that Oracle has in the market, but also for the support that the company dedicates to the Trump administration.
In a matter of days, everything settled for a favorable outcome for Oracle. Last Sunday (13), the Microsoft released a short note to inform you that ByteDance rejected your purchase proposal. At the same time, information emerged that Oracle would be announced shortly as a buyer or partner in TikTok’s US operations.
Following up on the rumors, the Oracle released a note this Monday (14) confirming to be part of a proposal by ByteDance submitted to the United States government. With the agreement, Oracle will assume the role of TikTok’s “trusted technology provider” and, presumably, will have control over the data of American social network users.
Although the purchase of part of TikTok by Oracle is not ruled out, this possibility is increasingly remote. There are indications that the Chinese government is not at all happy with the possibility of acquiring TikTok by an American company, even partially. Apparently, Beijing prefers the service to be blocked rather than showing “weakness” because it cannot resist pressure from Washington.
Coincidence or not, the Chinese government has created a new set of trade rules that makes it difficult to transfer artificial intelligence technologies to other countries. These restrictions do not prevent the sale of TikTok, but may require the new owner to rewrite key parts of the service’s algorithms. That is why the partnership sounds more likely.
In any case, the soap opera has not yet ended. The agreement between Oracle and ByteDance needs to be approved by the United States Treasury. Steven Mnuchin, secretary of the agency, signaled that the proposal will be analyzed this week.
Updated at 13:05 to include Oracle’s announcement.