Updated Oracle is reportedly set to provide technology to TikTok – the astronomically popular China-based social network – in what could be the century’s strangest corporate match-up.
This comes after TikTok was ordered by President Donald Trump to sell or spin off its American operations, or be banned from the Land of the Free over national security concerns. It is feared Beijing could order TikTok to hand over personal information on millions of its American users.
At first, it was said Oracle offered to acquire the US side of the social media app for $20bn. Now it looks like it'll just be its technology partner. That's awkward because Microsoft at first wanted to just provide a cloud platform for TikTok and was pressured into acquiring the US biz, a merger deal that fell apart. Seemingly, Oracle has been allowed to take the simpler option and is set to, presumably, host at least part of the vid-sharing app's backend in its cloud to keep the White House happy.
Funnily enough, the relationship between President Trump and Oracle supremo Larry Ellison is said to be a good one. Big Red's CTO and founder famously opened his doors to a Trump fundraiser in February this year, while the US administration backed an Oracle database project to store and analyse COVID-19-related clinical data.
Oracle has not commented on the latest developments. It is believed the tech titan may end up taking a small stake in TikTok if it becomes an IT provider for the app maker. ®
Updated to add
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin indicated earlier today that TikTok owner ByteDnce has submitted paperwork to the US government on how it plans to address the President's privacy concerns, and that plan involves using "trusted" American IT giant Oracle's technology. Presumably, US netizens' data will be kept on Oracle's servers and not fall into the hands of the Middle Kingdom.
The database giant said in a statement: "Oracle confirms Secretary Mnuchin’s statement that it is part of the proposal submitted by ByteDance to the Treasury Department over the weekend in which Oracle will serve as the trusted technology provider. Oracle has a 40-year track record providing secure, highly performant technology solutions."
Editor's note: This article was revised after publication to clarify Oracle is seeking to provide technology to TikTok rather than acquire the app maker's American operation.