TikTok Selects Oracle as ‘Trusted Technology Partner’

ByteDance rejects Microsoft's bid to buy social video app

a phone that has tiktok
Walmart announced it will team up with Microsoft to bid for TikTok as a deadline looms to respond to an executive order. Walmart, Microsoft, TikTok
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Oracle has been chosen as ByteDance’s “trusted technology partner” for TikTok in the U.S., the technology company told Adweek today, though neither Oracle nor TikTok clarified what that relationship would look like.

TikTok confirmed that it has submitted a proposal the social video app believed “would resolve the administration’s concerns” over user privacy without necessitating the sale of the platform, but did not give exact details about what was put forward in the plan.

Oracle spokesperson Greg Lunsford touted the California-based tech firm’s decades-long experience in “providing secure, highly performant technology solutions” in a statement.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also confirmed the proposal Monday morning in an interview on CNBC.

The move comes only days before ByteDance’s deadline to sell TikTok, with Microsoft announcing on Sunday night that its own bid to purchase the social video app has been rejected.

“ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok’s U.S. operations to Microsoft,” the company said in a statement on its website. “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. We look forward to seeing how the service evolves in these important areas.”

While an odd match, Microsoft was widely seen as the likeliest American company to acquire the explosively popular social video app. Microsoft, known for its prowess in personal computing, productivity software and cloud services, also owns the Xbox gaming properties which share a similarly young audience with TikTok.

Microsoft’s bid was further bolstered by an acquisition partnership with Walmart, though it was unclear how the two would split ownership of the app. Media buyers told Adweek recently that while they were unsure about Microsoft owning TikTok, the addition of Walmart hinted at a TikTok with more integrated ecommerce offerings.

But it’s still not clear exactly how that partnership would operate—or if other parties could still get a piece of the pie.

Walmart, as an example, said Sunday that it remains interested, even though its bid was not selected. “We know that any approved deal must satisfy all regulatory and national security concerns,” Walmart spokesperson Randy Hargrove told Adweek.

ByteDance, a Cayman Islands-based company with Chinese origins, is facing a Sept. 20 deadline to sell TikTok in order to comply with an executive order, issued on Aug. 6, from the Trump administration. The order, which was the first of two that Trump signed directed at TikTok, says that business “transactions” with ByteDance will be illegal after Sept. 20. President Donald Trump previously gave his blessing to the Microsoft bid after a conversation with its CEO Satya Nadella and both Trump and Microsoft said they wished to complete the deal by Sept. 15.

ByteDance and TikTok recently sued the U.S. government over the Aug. 6 executive order, saying it violated the company’s First and Fifth Amendment rights, among other claims, but the case is still ongoing. Another deadline, Nov. 12, still lingers even if the courts strike down the earlier deadline, which takes effect next Sunday.

@ScottNover scott.nover@adweek.com Scott Nover is a platforms reporter at Adweek, covering social media companies and their influence.