If Oracle Buys TikTok, Would It Suddenly Change Its Tune On Section 230?

from the seems-like-an-important-question dept

Late Monday, it came out that Oracle is one of the potential American acquirers of TikTok from the Chinese company ByteDance, after President Trump ordered Bytedance sell TikTok out of spite. Microsoft has been the most talked about potential purchaser, though there were also rumors of a potential bid by Twitter.

The Oracle rumor strikes many as particularly bizarre, for good reason. Oracle is pretty much an enterprise-only focused company. However, if it has one strength it is in buying up companies and integrating them into its cashflow generation machine. I'm still not sure I see the synergies here, but perhaps Larry Ellison is finally realizing that Oracle is the opposite of cool in Silicon Valley.

However, the thing that struck me most about all of this is that Oracle is one of the main companies behind the plot to undermine Section 230. Oracle has been a funder of a weird group of anti-Section 230 activists, and has been involved in multiple anti-Section 230 crusades. And, as we've pointed out in the past, it seems pretty clear why: Oracle has always been incredibly (to a petty level) jealous of Google and Facebook's success -- and seems to see Section 230 reform as a weapon it can use to attack those companies without harming itself, since Oracle doesn't really host much user generated content.

Of course, that would change if Oracle actually ended up buying TikTok. Suddenly, it would have a massive platform full of user generated content, and it would be fascinating to watch if Oracle changes its tune on 230 (or calls off its attack dogs who keep misrepresenting 230). That would certainly be interesting. Of course, the general rumor is that Oracle is really just doing this to drive up the price for Microsoft (who Oracle is losing to in the fight for "cloud" supremacy), but President Trump has given his blessing for an Oracle/TikTok deal, which isn't too surprising, given that Oracle's top execs have been sucking up to Trump and praising him since he was elected.

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Filed Under: china, section 230, user generated content
Companies: bytedance, microsoft, oracle, tiktok


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  • icon
    ysth (profile), 19 Aug 2020 @ 9:46am

    change Is to It in title?

    I'm guessing

    If Oracle Buys TikTok, Would Is Suddenly Change Its Tune On Section 230?

    is supposed to be

    If Oracle Buys TikTok, Would It Suddenly Change Its Tune On Section 230?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      TheRealDonaldTrump, 19 Aug 2020 @ 10:04am

      Re: change Is to It in title?

      They are the same picture.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Aug 2020 @ 1:59am

      Re: change Is to It in title?

      Hmm. It depends, I guess, if your perception of IS is different than your perception of Oracle.

      Imho the caliphate extremists have a great deal of common ground with oracle.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Norahc (profile), 19 Aug 2020 @ 9:59am

    If Oracle buys TikTok, they're more likely to claim everyone violated their intellectual property and file lawsuits.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2020 @ 10:01am

    "...perhaps Larry Ellison is finally realizing that Oracle is the opposite of cool in Silicon Valley."

    That's a pretty sick burn Larry, yer gonna need some water!

    Perhaps the kids will help you out Larry.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 19 Aug 2020 @ 10:03am

    Oracle's offering its own products that use Amazon's S3 API, while still pushing their scam lawsuit against Gooogle replicating the Java API for Android.

    Don't expect any sudden self-awareness from them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 19 Aug 2020 @ 10:06am

    Oracle isn't buying TikTok

    Oracle is not buying TikTok.

    Oracle is simply bidding up the game to make MS pay more*.

    Watch it play out and enjoy. Popcorn all around.

    E

    • This has nothing to do with LE's core business plan. It's just LE playing F-F -- something he enjoys greatly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 19 Aug 2020 @ 10:50am

      Re: Oracle isn't buying TikTok

      That actually raises an interesting question, that of 'what happens if MS decides not to play along, waits for Oracle to make a bid and then lets them have it'? If Oracle are just bidding to raise the price and screw over MS then it seems to me at least that they are leaving themselves wide open to having their bluff called.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ehud Gavron (profile), 19 Aug 2020 @ 11:57am

        Re: Re: Oracle isn't buying TikTok

        M&A isn't really a bidding process in the sense of eBay. It's a bidding process to get to the contract phase. Oracle can always say "Glad you liked our price. Sorry MS got cold feet. We don't like the financials [or the political pressure, or the stupid name, or whatever] so we're out.

        If M&A operated on a "best and final and if we accept your bid you're stuck with us" that would be at best funny, but disadvantageous to the seller... because of the amount of carve-outs and conditions the buyer often insists on, let alone the structure of the deal... which lawyers on both sides work on.

        Not a bad thought tho. eBay for M&A of businesses! I'll bite (as a buyer).

        E

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Federico (profile), 19 Aug 2020 @ 11:25am

    One strength

    However, if it has one strength it is in buying up companies and integrating them into its cashflow generation machine.

    Really? Recently I've only heard of billions spent for nothing.

    Six acquisitions reportedly totaling at least $3 billion since 2014 helped make the database company a big name in the field of advertising software. [...] Investment bank Stifel Nicolaus & Co. estimates that Data Cloud delivered only about $500 million of Oracle’s $40 billion in sales last year.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-06/oracle-didn-t-see-the-data-reckoning-coming

    Te ams that had worked on an older version of Oracle’s infrastructure cloud and employees who came to the company through cloud acquisitions were also affected by the effort to trim expenses and boost profit margin in the face of criticism about stagnant sales growth.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-09/oracle-is-no-longer-dreaming-of-cloud-do minance

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2020 @ 12:27pm

    TIL: oracle still exists.

    Shitty 1990s software plated over with visual basic bandaids, and companies STILL use them?

    SQL lite is a more stable, faster, easier to use system and it's FREE.

    Why would anyone want to pay Oracle $1 a go to search their OWN database?
    (this is the average cost per use of an Oracle Database given their MASSIVE MASSIVE MASSIVE cost).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 19 Aug 2020 @ 11:15pm

      Re:

      You want to know how I know you're never worked in a large corporate environment?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Aug 2020 @ 2:09am

      Re:

      What PaulIT said.

      The more detailed explanation is manyfold; First of all, Oracle offers ful suites of software, all integrated. The first one is usually dirt cheap. But on top of that suite you already implemented you now need interfaces. This will cost you. That interface plays ball very well with oracle products but will cost you an arm and a leg to adapt to anything else so...you now need another oracle product.

      By the time you realize what has happened your sales, supply, logistics, finance and legal departments all run on oracle databases and CRM systems and any attempt to break out of that walled garden will cost you a screaming bagful of money and possibly a lot of input from highly paid lawyers who will all tell you to step VERY carefully about what your equally obscenely paid oracle-licensed programmers and developers do with the systems.

      Most corporate CEO's know less about databases than they do of rocket science or brain surgery so they have to find a consultant to advise them about which system to lease for their company. And at the top of the yellow pages what do you find? Consultants working for Oracle subsidiaries who will of course advise that Oracle can cover all their needs and are very cautious never to mention that the CEO is about to permanently graft a permanently hungry parasite to the brainstem of their corporation...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 20 Aug 2020 @ 2:28am

        Re: Re:

        It's mainly about reputation and covering asses at the corporate level.

        Sure, you as a DBA or sys admin might know that Oracle's a pain in the ass and you'd save a lot of money on licences, infrastructure, performance and support if you just replaced them. But, you have to sell that to many other people, most of whom don't understand anything you're talking about.

        Even if an Oracle sales rep hasn't got to them first, you'll basically have to convince your CTO, who will then have to convince the CEO and the board to make a large payment that could risk the entire data infrastructure during migration. Then, assuming that everything's gone smoothly, you lose things like SLA agreements and the ability to pass any lawsuits over to Oracle if something disastrous happens?

        Nope, not going to happen. It's possible for a SME to make such a switch, or if something major goes wrong that can be traced back to being Oracle's fault directly. But, if you're in a large corporation that's already invested heavily in Oracle you're not going to be moving any time soon.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Aug 2020 @ 7:52am

          Re: Re: Re:

          That too, sadly. The dba or sysadmin would, in the case of a major corporation, have to sell his idea upwards and back it with a lot of prep work and slides. Against the Oracle sales rep who already has the best well-oiled dog-and-pony show a highly paid marketing department can produce.

          "But, if you're in a large corporation that's already invested heavily in Oracle you're not going to be moving any time soon."

          Yeah, between the restrictions the poor sheep signs itself to, the incredible expense (and risk) of migrating data to a new database and CRM set...most companies just settle for letting Oracle keep gouging them because the one-time investment of switching often can't even be properly assessed.

          It's similar in many ways to SAP which practices identical lock-in effects but not quite as ugly when it comes to it's licensing practices.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 24 Aug 2020 @ 8:17am

          Re: Re: Re:

          But, if you're in a large corporation that's already invested heavily in Oracle you're not going to be moving any time soon.

          It doesn't even have to be large. My not-very-large company is on Oracle for some reason (my guess is that is what the first DBA knew and convinced management it was the way to go). I'm pretty sure we are never switching.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 24 Aug 2020 @ 10:53pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Well, true, but at least in a SME environment, an experienced DBA and competent CTO could put together a decently convincing argument to the CEO that a move elsewhere would return a compelling return on investment, or reduction in costs that pays itself back. It might still be an uphill struggle, but it's possible with the right people and the right figures.

            But, in a large corporate environment, where every such decision is approved by a non-technical board of director more concerned with covering their asses than making actual innovative decisions, where Oracle salesmen are listened to and the average DBA/sys admin is invisible to them? That's way less likely. Even if you can convince them that there's a huge amount of overhead costs to save, they may well rather overpay for the brand name.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              nasch (profile), 25 Aug 2020 @ 7:21am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Well, true, but at least in a SME environment, an experienced DBA and competent CTO could put together a decently convincing argument to the CEO

              That's true, our problem is our lead DBA is all in on Oracle.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 25 Aug 2020 @ 7:40am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Well, that is a different issue. I was thinking more from the angle of having tech staff wanting to switch but the business preventing them. There's not a great deal you can do when you have the tech leads also wanting to stick with Oracle.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Ehud Gavron (profile), 25 Aug 2020 @ 8:30am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  When all you know is how to use a hammer, and you have a 'Certificate' on your wall to prove it, then construction should only be done with nails. Because you're the objective decision-maker.

                  You'll also need to ensure all new hires are 'vetted' by you so you can remove any pesky non hammer-certificated people so you don't have to have this conversation ever again. Fortunately your boss sees how good you are with a hammer, and that it definitely needs nail construction to work, so you MUST be great and your opinion is exactly what the company needs...

                  E

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Vikarti Anatra (profile), 21 Aug 2020 @ 11:13am

      Re:

      One word - scalability.
      Almost everything (even MySQL(!)) is better than SQLite in this regard.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 24 Aug 2020 @ 8:20am

      Re:

      SQL lite is a more stable, faster, easier to use system and it's FREE.

      There are great alternatives to Oracle for professional database systems, but SQLite is not among them. It's not even the same kind of system - SQLite is embedded in a client program, not run on a server.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 24 Aug 2020 @ 10:54pm

        Re: Re:

        My guess is that he's a developer who's never had to understand how things actually work on the server end, especially at scale in production. I'm actually surprised he didn't go the whole hog and start recommending MongoDB.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2020 @ 1:31pm

    Oracle uses the same technique that IBM and Microsoft used in the halcyon days of their Evil Empires: Before the sale, booze schmooze and confuse the MBAs (flying high over the heads of anyone who can tell a database from a dipstick); promise the moon, sun, and your choice of any seven planets, with the eighth coming in an update Real Soon Now. After the sale, seize all user data; admit that six planets aren't ready for occupancy yet (but can be made so, on a cost-plus-plus contract basis); dazzle the MBAs with more pretty charts (based on miscalculations of invalid data) than they can read in a lifetime, even assuming they already know how to read; make it subtlely clear that the user data can be disgorged easily--at a purely-nominal cost of all executive stock options and pensions for the next 30 years; then crank up the annual license fees faster than a pharmaceutical company on steroids selling steroids. PROFIT!

    LE would contract with homeless people to steal the obols from his grandmother's eyes--then stiff them on the payments. If you shake hands with him, you won't have a finger left to count your other fingers.

    And his nanny dresses him funny too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2020 @ 5:48pm

    Oracle something something what the fuck now?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2020 @ 6:12am

    Tik Tok is popular because it is new/edgy/cool. As soon as one of the dinosaur tech companies buys it I foresee a massive decline in users.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Federico (profile), 13 Sep 2020 @ 10:51pm

    Oracle will manage TikTok's U.S. user data

    Under the proposal, Oracle will be ByteDance’s technology partner and assume management of TikTok’s U.S. user data, the sources said. Oracle is also negotiating taking a stake in TikTok’s U.S. operations, they added.

    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-china-bytedance-tiktok-oracle/bytedance-drops-tiktoks-u-s- sale-to-partner-with-oracle-sources-idUKKBN265002

    Drain the swamp! Pump all that personal data into the USA advertisement corporations, where it will only be used for good purposes, like the next Cambridge Analytica.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 13 Sep 2020 @ 11:41pm

      Re: Oracle will manage TikTok's U.S. user data

      So, when all is said and done, the big "winner" in Trumps lashing out due to his bruised ego is not only one of the few men less likeable than Trump himself, but a major Trump campaign backer. I'm shocked /s

      Add this to the list of "open corruption that would have been the end of the presidency in any other timeline, but in this one it's only the first of the week".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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