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Confusion: Fog hanging over Oracle-TikTok acquisition deal




Just a few hours after the news broke that the much anticipated acquisition of TikTok’s US operation has ended in favour of Oracle, contrasting facts have emerged to create a bewildering understanding of the deal.

Earlier reports showed that Microsoft, another big bidder against Oracle, was already out of the game with claims that its proposal had been rejected.

In contrast to this notion however, China’s state broadcaster, CGTN, reported that ByteDance will not sell TikTok’s U.S. operations to Microsoft or Oracle, citing sources.

ByteDance, the world’s most valuable startup credited with pioneering algorithmic content recommendation for short videos — a significant key to how TikTok works so well — won’t give its source code to any U.S. buyers, sources told CGTN.

A source told the South China Morning Post earlier that the tech upstart has decided not to sell or transfer the source code behind its popular video app.

ByteDance said it won’t comment on market rumors.

The clock is ticking on TikTok’s fate. Beijing was ostensibly absent from ByteDance’s negotiations with Washington in the early days, but that seems to have changed as the deal’s deadline inches closer, with the U.S. government threatening to shut down the service in 45 days from August 6  to September 20, should ByteDance fail to find a local buyer for the company.

Recall that two weeks ago, the Chinese government updated a set of trade rules that could block the export of artificial intelligence technologies such as those used to personalize TikTok’s user feeds.

The revision is widely viewed as Beijing’s move to complicate TikTok’s sale and ByteDance said at the time it will “strictly abide by” the law.

Similarlt, over the weekend, Reuters reported that Beijing would rather see TikTok close down in the U.S. rather than following Washington’s order to sell, which would “make both ByteDance and China appear weak in the face of pressure from Washington.”

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