Trump’s deadline for changes to TikTok via the sale of its Chinese-owned parent company, ByteDance, to a U.S. company is less than a week from now—and the future of the app is still uncertain.
Microsoft, which until recently the most promising contender, is no longer in the running for the buy. The company wrote in a blog post shared yesterday that it is “confident” that its “proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users, while protecting national security interests.”
CNN reports that technology company Oracle, the self-proclaimed “world’s leading provider of business software,” is now in talks with ByteDance.
Oracle’s mission, per its website, is to “help people see data in new ways.” It offers services like cloud management, app development, and security—in the latter, Oracle boasts “decades of experience securing data and applications.” Per its careers site, it also employs emerging technologies like “AI, machine learning, and blockchain” are used to solve “critical real-world problems.”
Trump’s concerns about TikTok–the world’s popular app last month, surpassing 63.3. million downloads globally–are connected to perceived issues with China; he’s challenged several other companies as well for potentially risking national security through the handling of user data.
Still, a partnership with Oracle may not appease Trump’s requirements. “The scope and language of the order, along with Trump’s own remarks about TikTok, have led to confusion about how a ban would be implemented,” write Brian Fung and Selina Wang for CNN Business. They note also that although the deadline is set for Sept. 20, Trump has also mentioned another date, Nov. 12.
Walmart, which was previously working with Microsoft in its discussion with ByteDance, is also still interested, and will continue to pursue involvement.
ByteDance has declared it will not sell to either Microsoft or Oracle, “nor will it give the source code to U.S. buyers,” a source told the China Global Television Network.
It’s been estimated that about 500 million people around the world actively use TikTok. That number, though, is based on a July 2018 announcement. It could be higher now — or, if a U.S. ban takes effect, significantly lower in the very near future. Trump has said recently that he will not extend the deadline for the sale of ByteDance.