ByteDance has rejected Microsoft's bid to buy the app's U.S. operations.
"ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok’s US operations to Microsoft," Microsoft said in a statement. "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."
Oracle essentially won the bidding war after it was reported that TikTok will announce the California-based company as their "trusted tech partner" in the U.S., per Wall Street Journal. Their agreement will "likely not to be structured as an outright sale," but will help avoid further conflict with Donald Trump, who threatened to shut down the app's operations in the United States, if they didn't find new ownership by September 20.
The Trump administration's deadline was part of an executive order that prohibited U.S. businesses from working with TikTok by the aforementioned date, claiming the app "continued to threaten the national security, foreign policy; and economy of the United States." TikTok announced plans to sue the Trump administration over the executive order, arguing that there was a "lack of due process," and accusing the administration of involving itself in negotiations between private businesses.
TikTok's 11th hour announcement to work with Oracle comes after reports that ByteDance's U.S. investors were pushing for the app to choose the software giant, especially since its co-founder Larry Ellison is a known Trump supporter, who held a fundraiser for him at his home earlier this year. Their rumored partnership received the blessing of Trump, who called Oracle a "great company" that "could handle" TikTok.
It remains to be seen how the news of this deal with Oracle will be received by Beijing, which reportedly preferred to close down its U.S. operations, instead of caving to the White House's demands. Reuters reports Beijing believed a forced sale would "make both ByteDance and China appear weak in the face of pressure from Washington."