President Donald Trump's hatred of the social media app TikTok has been a constant in the headlines over the past few months, with Trump becoming increasingly more vitriolic towards the app to the point of an outright ban. The sale of TikTok's American assets, the only viable way for the app to remain operational in the United States, had similarly dominated the headlines, with the Microsoft-Walmart led partnership appearing as the frontrunner.
Microsoft-Walmart, however, has lost the bidding war to Oracle. To say that ByteDance "sold" TikTok's American assets to Oracle, however, appears to be a misnomer. According to anonymous sources that spoke to the Wall Street Journal, the deal seems to be a partnership between the two firms, rather than an outright sale of TikTok.
The loss of Microsoft to Oracle raises questions of political interference, especially in light of Oracle's support of Trump. Political interference aside, Oracle doesn't appear to be as well equipped to handle a social media app as Microsoft. While not specializing in social media like some of its contemporaries, Microsoft does, however, have plenty of experience in the field with LinkedIn, an iconic social media platform for working professionals. Microsoft also has experience in interacting with younger consumers through its Xbox division. Oracle, on the other hand, is oriented more towards business clients and has little experience with direct-to-consumer business, and no running a social media platform.
Microsoft's plans for the app also appeared to be more inclusive than Oracle's.
"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," said Microsoft in a statement.
Walmart has seemingly abandoned its partnership with Microsoft on news of the latter's loss in the bidding war and is prepared to approach Oracle for a similar partnership. The company is reportedly still in talks with ByteDance.
All that remains for the potential partnership is to receive federal approval. The Committee for Foreign Investment in the U.S. must approve the transaction, as well as President Trump. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reported on Monday that he had received a proposal from Oracle for the bid and that the government would be reviewing the deal to ensure that it protected American interests.