Sunday, October 25, 2020

ByteDance not to sell TikTok’s US operations to Oracle: CGTN

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Beijing: In an interesting development, ByteDance has reportedly said it will neither sell TikTok’s US operations to Oracle nor give the source code to any US buyers, state-owned China Global Television Network (CGTN) reported on Monday.

The report came as The New York Times and other US media outlets reported on Sunday that Bytedance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, has chosen Cloud major Oracle over Microsoft to run its US operations as a ‘trusted tech partner’.

The CGTN said that it “has learned from sources that ByteDance will also not sell TikTok’s US operations to Oracle”.

ByteDance declined to comment on this matter, the report added.

In an earlier statement on Sunday, Microsoft said its bid for TikTok operations in the US was rejected.

“ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok’s US operations to Microsoft. We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users, while protecting national security interests,” Microsoft said.

“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,” the tech giant added.

According to the NYT, it was unclear whether TikTok’s choice of Oracle as a technology partner would mean that “Oracle would also take a majority ownership stake of the social media app”.

This is different from an outright sale and appears to suggest Oracle will help run TikTok’s US operations with its Cloud technologies.

The business sales talk of TikTok in the US hit roadblock after China updated the technology export rules. The update covers Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies used by ByteDance.

China in August updated the list of technologies that are subject to export bans. The new list, released jointly by China’s Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Science and Technology, added 23 items to export restrictions while technical parameters of 21 items were revised.

The new update in the export rules cover restrictions on technologies such as text analysis, content recommendation and voice-recognition. The technologies on the list cannot be exported without approval from authorities in China.

ByteDance had said “the company will strictly abide” by the new export rules imposed by China.

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