TikTok’s Chinese owner has fought tooth and nail to keep control over its wildly popular platform for dancing teens and young Los Angeles influencers. One big reason: The days of fast internet fortunes and meteoric digital growth in its home market may be coming to an end.
With Microsoft dropping out of the race to take over TikTok in the United States, Oracle has emerged as the leading contender to save the video app from impending restrictions from the Trump administration. TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, has chosen the software giant to be its U.S. technology partner, an arrangement that would most likely give Oracle oversight over data on American users.
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TikTok Was a Wasted Opportunity: The TikTok battle was a chance to debate big questions about technology and government. We missed it.
Creeping closer to resolving a monthslong saga over the future of TikTok in the United States, the Chinese video app looks likely to have a new American partner. TikTok will stay open in the United States. Probably.
Behind the mess over TikTok were profound questions for Americans: What should we do about technology companies that can influence our understanding of the world — whether it’s TikTok or Facebook? And what should the United States do about a future in which technology is becoming less American?
How Oracle Became the Trump Administration’s Favorite Tech Company
Last month, when President Donald Trump said he would ban the video app TikTok unless an American company took over its U.S. business, it was a solid bet that Microsoft would emerge as the buyer. Trump’s stated concern was that TikTok’s Beijing-based owner ByteDance could hand over user data to the Chinese government. Microsoft, the theory went, had the resources to take over the astronomically popular app but didn’t already operate a major social network (sorry, LinkedIn). The president, however, reportedly expressed a different preference: Oracle, the database-software giant whose co-founder, Larry Ellison, is one of Trump’s most prominent supporters in the technology industry.