US enterprise software giant Oracle is set to be announced as TikTok’s new “trusted tech partner” after Microsoft failed to win over China-based parent owner ByteDance.
An executive order TikTok has vowed to challenge called for the viral video app to be sold to an American company if it wanted to continue operating there due to data security fears and wider political conflict between the US and China.
According to “a person familiar with the matter” who spoke to The Wall Street Journal, the new partnership is not the same as a direct sale.
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Instead it’s understood Oracle will handle the cloud operations and data storage for TikTok.
Microsoft has announced it received word on Sunday from ByteDance that its offer was knocked back.
“We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users, while protecting national security interests,” Microsoft said in a statement.
“To do this, we would have made significant changes to ensure the service met the highest standards for security, privacy, online safety, and combating disinformation, and we made these principles clear in our August statement.
“We look forward to seeing how the service evolves in these important areas,” the company added.
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It appears Microsoft believed changes were necessary but whether Oracle is of the same opinion, and will make such changes, is yet to be announced.
The White House declined to comment to the Journal about the deal, which will have to be approved by it and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US.
While the US ordered TikTok sold, China issued new export restrictions that could prevent it happening, or at least take away its most attractive feature: the recommendation algorithm it uses to keep you hooked on viral content.
What the reported Oracle partnership means for Australian users of the app remains unclear: our user data is currently held on servers in Singapore.
TikTok maintains it has never been asked to provide data to the Chinese government and wouldn’t do it if it were asked.
According to a report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) analyst Samantha Hoffman, the government might not actually have to make such a request in order to access data.
Many ASPI sponsors are from overseas and one (Facebook, a “bronze sponsor”) is even a direct competitor to TikTok, part of the reason why TikTok has disputed the Institute’s credibility on other comments relating to it.
Originally published as TikTok’s new ‘trusted tech partner’