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Oracle Wins Bid for TikTok in U.S. (wsj.com)
474 points by doctoboggan 13 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 326 comments





Here's what I am guessing it is:

- Bytedance retains some ownership and control of the app and the algorithms

- Oracle runs the entire back end on their infrastructure

- Oracle guarantees to the US government that no data is going back to China (because they control the release of the app and control the back end)

- This satisfies the USA's (supposed) national security concerns and also satisfies China because TikTok is not actually being "sold" to a US company.


If it was that simple, Google would have been the obvious choice. They have already started migrating to GCP and signed an $800 million dollar three year deal.

https://www.theinformation.com/articles/tiktok-agreed-to-buy...


Only Google doesn't really do B2B. They're B2C. Oracle does B2B.

They've been doing AdWords since 2000 and AdSense since 2003. Those are B2B and have made them many hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue.

Yes. It's made THEM billions of dollars. If you've ever been on the other side of the pipeline, as an advertiser or a web site owner, you know you're treated as a statistic. Businesses suddenly disappear when Google delists them on either end. That's most visible on Youtube, where random Youtubers find themselves demonatized with no apparent rhyme, reason, or appeal, but it happens all over the Googleyweb.

If it's one of a dozen places you advertise, that's fine. If you're trying to run a business where it's a core platform, you quickly run into the limits there.


Uhhh what?

This is a fantastic idea - the only thing missing (that I see) is that Oracle would need to see the source code and verify that the checksum of the apps built from that code matches the downloads from the Google Play Store and App Store.

Otherwise the guarantee that no data is being sent to China is not airtight. Oracle could audit the app every time it gets an update and watch network traffic, but this would miss anything sent by code activated remotely after the fact. It wouldn't work for long, but the US government will look for any reason to deny this deal. I don't think Oracle will audit the app constantly anyway. Come to think of it, that could apply to the source code too, if the malicious code was extremely well hidden.


Right, they will audit the source code but have no IP rights to it, is my guess.

Also they will probably take over responsibility for the Play and App Store accounts and be responsible for pushing the new versions (after audit).


How would they shuttle out that much traffic undetected?

It is a video app. Couldn't you embed the embargoed data into the media content using steganography. All the receiver of the data would need to do is download a modified version of the client, then collect the data. From the server side it would just look like a normal TikTok app watching videos.

Yes. I think you are right. ByteDance is not selling Tiktok outright. They will be using oracle cloud infrastructure. But not sure if that will be enough for the current administration. It feels like tiktok is playing smart.

Impressive speculation: your theory is the most compelling in seeing here

And looks like that's what happened? So both Oracle and Walmart only own the 20% of that new company?

What about the CDN that TikTok uses in Fastly? Will it be replaced by Oracle?

Almost certainly why would they use a third party for stuff they offer themselves?

The only losers are software developers at TikTok who now have to migrate to Oracle's database.

Oracle cloud is not Oracle db only. What is tiktok running on now? Do not forget Oracle owns mysql as well...

So, the user graph will be bifurcated, with US users isolated from those in the rest of the world? If so, I don't see how the US-only TikTok remains popular for much longer.

Not really, where does the implication of a bifurcated graph come into play?

Plenty of companies store their users’ data in the US, but user profiles and content made public is visible from anywhere in the world.


Reasonable guess, although I think it would be impossible to guarantee that no data is going back to China.

Oracle can audit the app code and also probably sandbox the back end in such a way that they can be fairly sure things aren't escaping, at least not on a large scale.

My prediction: Oracle couldn’t care less about TikTok as an entity, but wants their IP so they can sue everyone else who has a recommendation engine. No, it won’t make any sense, but much of that organization’s moves are inscrutable to me.

TikTok is about the furthest you would look for something to pass off as novel. If they were buying some decrepit social network precursor which no one ever used or can recall, that might still make more sense under this hypothesis. As it is, I’m sure Oracle already owns IP pertaining to recommendation engines that even predates TikTok’s existence!

It seems as though the whole reason that Oracle is getting this and not Microsoft is that Microsoft insisted on getting the recommendation engine in the deal and ByteDance said no -- not exclusively, mind you, at all. Oracle won't be able to do what you're saying.

I think a possibility is that Oracle want to increase their competition with Amazon, Microsoft and Google, all of whom own massive consumer properties and/or social networks.

Oracle has a "Data Management Platform" (perhaps a bit better known as BlueKai), which they might consider augmenting with stuff coming out of TikTok.

And that product was just pulled out of Europe last week for privacy violations. There is also a pending class action lawsuit against Oracle (and Salesforce) for this type of product violating GDPR.

So I don't think this is a great step forward for US consumers.


They aren't getting the IP.

THIS THIS THIS.

Oracle is a greedy leech on the world and tech in general. Tiktok has something they want to use to sue other companies. Oracle knows almost no other way to do business.


The parent comment is just a super low effort HN trope. Company everybody hates does something so you have to dream up some silly reason that it fits into the existing narrative about them.

There is literally no reason to think this could possibly happen, apart from “Oracle is bad and they do bad IP lawsuits”. Tik Tok doesn’t have any novel IP that could support a theory like this, and Oracle isn’t even getting any IP in this deal.


Doooood. Literally Oracle bought Sun to sue Google. It is not a troll comment. The company on the whole has used IP to attack other companies in the past. It is a well known fact there is no troll about that.

And I would think the magic algorithm that comes along with Tiktok is IP.

Maybe you know the list of patents Bytedances holds? If they do not have IP around that algorithm they are idiots.

Anyway it will be interesting to watch.


ByteDance has said publicly that they won't be selling their algorithm (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-09-13/bytedance...) -- so there's no IP angle here. What is Oracle really getting out of the deal?

They're doing the deal as part of a consortium, Oracle is getting TikTok's cloud hosting in the US market (at least). Assuming TikTok doesn't fade in the next few years, it'll substantially increase the size of Oracle's cloud business and they can use it as a marketing point.

It suggests that Oracle's cloud business has such dire traction that they can't acquire prominent customers for it any other way than to directly buy part of them. It also speaks to that Ellison & Co. view the cloud shift as a terminal threat for Oracle, one that is getting worse by the day, and that if they don't succeed at building up their cloud business, they will erode and die (and they're right).

Oracle stayed in the game in the last round through massive consolidation, buying up the competition one after another (eg Siebel, PeopleSoft, etc). They'll try the same thing this time around as their organic efforts have largely failed; we'll see how much success they have given they're far outgunned this time around (and running from much further behind).


Has anyone actually ever used their cloud offering? I assume it's awful, but I've never even looked at it.

They have the most generous free tier. 2 free VM's each with 50 GB of storage and 2 free autonomous Oracle databases with 20 GB of storage.

Theoretically they do. Practically I couldn't even get an account last time I tried (a few months ago). It would attempt to charge my credit card a 1 dollar "check the payment is working fee" and fail (even though the charge was going through successfully).

It just worked for me. The card verification page tried to launch Flash for some reason, but it worked even though my browser blocked it.

What is the catch here? That seems good enough to run most things on.

They offer 2 free Oracle databases. The catch is they're Oracle databases.

In other words it's the same as every cloud provider: They hope you'll build a business system that uses enough of their proprietary tech that you can't easily move to another provider.


You can run mysql on any other free database on the 2 free compute instances. It is totally up to you.

The autonomous database is Oracle's offering of their Oracle database - that requires no DBA or tuning and runs on Exadata infrastructure. They are offering it for free - because they want enterprises using existing on-premise Oracle databases, to move their existing DB applications to the cloud.

Oracle Autonomous databases comes with free Oracle APEX - which is a low code / no code toolchain.


You get 1/8 OCPU per VPS

For a hobbyist, the free tier is amazing. 2 micro instances free forever.

They have a free tier that I’ve heard people will run matrix instances on. It seemed somewhat generous.

It's actually pretty solid, UX is also nicer than AWS or GCP

ZOOM Inc cloud partner is oracle. Oracle increasingly seems to be a bridge between US and China.

Zoom is not a Chinese company. Its founder and CEO happens to be Chinese, and they have operations in China, but the company was founded, incorporated, and initially exclusively operated in the U.S.

Development is all done out of China...

Not so. Their engineering core is in San Jose, CA.

The front end is not core.

It's more interesting to say "does the Chinese government have control over this company?"

Does the ceo/founder have family in china that can be held hostage?


That applies to most Chinese diaspora then.

Oracle has recently acquired top global brands as customers for their cloud business : https://www.zdnet.com/article/oracle-beats-q1-estimates-wins...

Just like GM operating in China is not transferring any IP, this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Monza_(China) being manufactured under SAIC-GM, a forced joint venture between GM and Chinese state-owned SAIC Motor is fine and dandy.

TikTok is a media platform. They are buying audience.

They can pass the user data to the US government.

I think that's right. I made this comment on a related thread but didn't put 2+2 together. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24465275

I don’t find it credible that governments are extremely interested in tik tok data.

Having aback catalog of truly embarrassing and possibly liable vids on any future politician, CEO or any useful pawn is worth a lot.

The app can access your microphone, camera, contacts, location services, and clipboard among other things.

https://www.rd.com/article/the-dangers-of-tiktok-that-are-wo...


Given the world-wide adoption of their app on smart phones, I'd say you're mistaken.

Android and iOS are more widespread, therefore an easier/better target for your government.

Well, the US government certainly thinks the Chinese government is interested.

They certainly are saying that they think that.

That's an incredibly naive statement. Governments are highly interested in social media.

It’s not just that. Now the Trump administration has control of the world’s best propaganda tool. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/04/technology/oracle-tiktok-...

It's pretty easy for trump to have someone else ghost write his tweets; that' won't work for his tiktok videos...

Its not that angle - imagine being able to turn down anything that is not flattering to him and turn up anything that is unflattering to Joe Biden.

This is the real risk.


Isn't that just the reverse of what Facebook and Google do currently?

80 million US users will be seeing one side of the story in November.

There's no chmace any of the technical details would be ready to manipulate propganga before November 3rd. Amusing, no chance

No one thinks this has to do with the relationship between the US President and Oracle? Amazon is throwing a fit because they weren’t chosen to be the Pentagons cloud provider. Now this. It’s favoritism.

At leas the pentagon deal was government related. Why the hell is the government putting it's nose up private deals like this and also asking for a cut?

because the government is run like a shady real estate company from the 80s, the president's term for the cut was quite literally, 'key money'

Because in this case the executive branch effectively forced the sale to happen by threatening to ban the platform. TikTok on its own wasn't looking to sell. Now, they have to sell to an American company in order to make Trump happy. So what else do they have to do to make Trump happy?

Well it's borderline acceptable to indirectly forcing them to sell by threatening a ban, but to actively oversee the sale and micromanage it is far beyond the line.

> it's borderline acceptable to indirectly forcing them to sell

It really is not. One of the biggest horrors of the Trump years is the extent to which this kind of capricious executive action has been normalized. A ban is a ban. If you genuinely think an app poses a security risk, then you use one of the executive tools available to shut it down.

There was no "ban" enacted here. It was a bargaining chip used to muck with the markets in an outrageously explicit way. We don't do that in this country. Or we never did before.

The closest equivalent to this in terms of effect would have been the trust busting of the early 20th century. And that involved all three branches of government working over years. This happened because One Guy decided he didn't like TikTok.


Why the hell is the government putting it's nose up private deals like this and also asking for a cut?

This is the correct question to ask, but the answer is quite simple - because Donald Trump is corrupt and thinks he can get away with it.

You had a republic, can you keep it?


I think your answer is right there at the end. They want a cut.

The federal budget is hundreds of tiktoks. and where would the money even go?

I love the cynicism of believing that the presidency is interfering in the deals, but the optimism of believing that it must then go towards Federal budgets and not certain people's pockets. :)

It’s not cynicism that he’s interfering when it’s obvious - literally Trump making statements on his Twitter. As for the money into his pocket; no need, the reasoning for Trump is that it makes his voters like him (since they dislike China), which gets him reelected.

Trump wants the cut , he is not asking for one to actually fund the federal budget.

He wants one to score with the voters. Given the unusual nature of the ask , it could be a donation to the project of his choicing like the wall


Silicon Valley letting this happen without even complaining a little: very disturbing.

I remember tech CEOs complains when h1B visas got cut bc they loved the cheap labor. Silicon valley only jumps in if it benefits their bottom line or for good PR

“Cheap labor” people with visa in FANG companies get paid the same salary as the non visa people, and it was the FANG ceos who complained, so I’m not sure I understand your comment.

TikTok is a black sheep because as soon as you defend it against the US, you’re painted as a Chinese shill advocating for Uighur genocide.

It’s no wonder that Silicon Valley is uninterested in defending it, despite the fact that this sort of deal is likely to severely fracture how tech services are treated by governments in the future.


It's sad that we are even looking to what stance tech companies have on human rights issues. The government should have sanctioned China severely already, tariffs, you name it.

Well in this case, ByteDance was the one that rejected the Microsoft/Walmart deal. Not the US President.

'ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok’s US operations to Microsoft.' [0]

[0] https://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2020/09/13/microsoft-statem...


Well that doesn’t mean much, the White House could have signaled to ByteDance on the DL that they’d torpedo any non-Oracle deal... who knows, banning a single company from operating domestically without any immediate proven national security threat is unprecedented, the president just does whatever he feels like.

This is such a huge clusterfuck, I don't know why anyone would buy it. Microsoft is lucky to have gotten away from it. What does acquiring the US operations even mean? Do they get code and if so who is going to take it forward? The engineers are all byte dance employees. They have a few engineers outside of China but the bulk of the talent is in China, that is where the innovation is coming from. Without them it doesn't make sense to get the operations. The user base is going to drastically fall and it will be a write-off in 2yrs time. All of the money is wasted.

You think oracle is paying for this without it being rewarded some nice matching government contracts or other investments/deals to match the expense?

Yep, exactly like how Microsoft was compensated for buying Skype. This stuff is not without precedent.

Skype was not sponsored by a foreign power but by liberal minded founders using P2P technology. Still a "national security" threat (actually a hegemony threat) so it had to be addressed somehow. Microsoft was happy to help.

It also helps explain a little the hapless treatment of the Skype brand under Microsoft. Not that Microsoft hasn't bought companies and mismanaged the assets before, but they really didn't know what to do with Skype.


> that is where the innovation is coming from

Wasn’t tiktok just running a huge campaign about how all the work is done in the US, it just happens to be hq-ed in China?


Which is true, for TikTok.

It's not true for ByteDance though, which appears to be where the algorithms came from.


This is likely explanation why Oracle was able to acquire TikTok's operation, despite the fact it does not seem to be a good fit at all: https://www.businessinsider.com/look-inside-president-trump-...

That's just speculation. Recall that Microsoft was rejected by TikTok leaving Oracle as the sole contender.

See: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/13/technology/tiktok-microso...


The way I am reading this is that Microsoft put some many security restrictions in place that they would be eliminated.

Me thinks this was all a massive gambit to win the JEDI deal, hobble Oracle with a turd, and then pull out.


Can you elaborate upon the corporate strategy you are seeing?

> Weeks later, China issued new regulations that would essentially bar TikTok from transferring its technology to a foreign buyer without explicit permission from the Chinese government.

> The Chinese regulations helped scuttle the effort by Microsoft, which said the only way it could both protect the privacy of TikTok users in the United States and prevent Beijing from using the app as a venue for disinformation was to take over the computer source code underlying the app, and the algorithms that determine what videos are seen by the 100 million Americans who use it each month.

This makes it clear that China has ties to Oracle management in some form or another, or Oracle wouldn't be the last man standing. This is going to be a shitshow.


Nah, all that Microsoft is trying to imply is that Oracle doesn’t give a shit about security engineering, and that the goofy geopolitical business alone does nothing for users. It’s plausible.

> This makes it clear that China has ties to Oracle management in some form or another

Oracle also has ties to Trump. This stinks.


Every company at this level has ties to the executive branch, and much more. Remember last year when the DoD wrote Microsoft a $10 billion check?

There’s a difference with having a contract with a department and being best buddies with an autocrat wannabe. Who then signs an executive order and invokes national security on very shaky grounds to force a sale.

Still, I’m not saying that the $10B DoD contract and the way they tortured the process to avoid giving it to Amazon did not stink as well. Or that Amazon as a company is fine. There can be more than one festering carcass in a swamp.


The Trump admin is strongly suspected of handing the JEDI contract of Microsoft and Oracle was one of the plaintiffs suing over bias.

I don’t think “being able to acquire” an organization or operations requires a “good fit,” but the reason for wanting to would.

It needs to be said that US admin interfering/forcing this deal citing "national security" concerns in a situation where US companies already dominate social platforms sends a very, very strong signal for other countries to demand social data to be stored on their respective soil as well. It's the end of the illusion of a competitive market in the "internet" and will have far-reaching consequences. In which world would EU, India, South/Mid America give a free pass to US oligopolies capturing almost all advertising revenue?

The US threatened to impose tariffs on India for trying to do this. US is all free markets as long as they can win when they cannot they bully.


It appears Oracle is a “tech partner” in this acquisition.

Isn’t this virtually identical to the Chinese model? For example, NetEase is the tech partner for Blizzard, GCBD for Apple’s iCloud, Sinnet for AWS, who does Microsoft partner with?

This appears to be a working model that the Chinese government will support. I wonder if other nations will start to adopt it.


Yes.

My Chinese friends are joking on this "California on Cloud" scenario. (GCBD is called "Guizhou on Cloud" in Chinese)


Global Times (China's CCP-run English Language News Portal) claims that ByteDance will NOT sell TikTok-US operations to Oracle or Microsoft.

Edit: They're probably being technically correct about "sell", but not so much about "operations".

https://twitter.com/globaltimesnews/status/13054102792833884...


Well Facebook has to be happy at least. Oracle has to be the company least likely to run TikTok well.

probably not because it's basically a Pyrrhic victory long-term. It'll drastically increase the chances of Facebook facing those issues in other countries, which would be devastating to the global business model of US software firms, and Facebook might get regulators attention again if the only significant competitor dies. I think Zuckerberg even said as much.

Oracle is more if a conglomerate these days. I would focus on cloud, ads, data tools as the main reasons to have this business line.

(Written for another post regarding the same topic, copied here)

Oracle purchasing a stake in ByteDance, and maybe handling US operations? It sounds like one of those deals which will end up as a loss in a few years and a write-down. The first comparison that comes to mind is the Tumblr sale, when Yahoo wrote-down $712 million, although the companies are quite different. However, the similarity is the culture difference between the parent and subsidiary companies - Yahoo couldn't figure out how to turn Tumblr profitable as they had no successful examples prior, as far as I remember. Oracle and TikTok could not be more different: Oracle is a cold cloud technology supplier with no business advertising to teens.

If Oracle wishes to only be the cloud partner holding US data (a possibility mentioned in the article) it's possible that it could work out, but whether it is possible is dependent on politics and potentially who is elected as the next President.


That's hilarious, really. In my experience if you want to kill a company have Oracle acquire it. (that may be a bit too cynical)

> (that may be a bit too cynical)

"You actually don't need to be open-minded about Oracle, you are wasting the openness of your mind [...] As you know people, as you learn about things, you realize that these generalizations we have are, virtually to a generalization, false. Well, except for this one, as it turns out. What you think of Oracle, is even truer than you think it is. There has been no entity in human history with less complexity or nuance to it than Oracle."

- Bryan Cantrill, https://youtu.be/-zRN7XLCRhc?t=2046


“Do not make the mistake of anthropomorphizing Larry Ellison.”

What's more human than wanting to make as much money as possible for the least amount of work?

My favourite humans see money as a means to an end.

“Computers aren’t the thing. They’re the thing that gets us to the thing.” - Halt and Catch Fire

One of my favorite YouTubers is Rob Dahm because of that exact reason.

Honestly I would take that oracle job described above in a heartbeat

That made me lol in a bathroom cubicle.

Oracle acquired two of our customers. Within 2 years they were both dead. Meanwhile every other company in the same industry was thriving.

Oracle is where things go to die.

RIP TikTok.


I was getting concerned my kids were spending too much time on TikTok. I guess that problem is solved now.

Do children not enjoy software license audits?

They're just playing the long game. This is the indoctrination to produce future middle managers that will choose Oracle products.

Perhaps the children's audit problems can be overlooked if they would like to purchase some nearly-usable HR management or accountancy software at this time.

An Oracle salesman once regaled me with tales of the "Larry Bonuses" that were payoffs issued to staff sexually harassed by the boss. He seemed to find it hilarious. I was underwhelmed - I have no idea if Ellison is a serial sexual harasser, but the fact that senior sales staff find the idea hilarious and laudable says that maybe you should be worried about what Oracle staff would do with access to information about teenagers.

TikTok will be fine. They will continue existing in every single other country.

Banned in India. Highly dependent if Chinese open their markets or not.

"Banned" in India. In countries like India, most people are using Android and a large number are using third party app stores or installing APKs. So market presence will stay. Monetization will be impossible, sure, but India is not really profitable anyways.

> a large number are using third party app stores or installing APKs

Any source for this? I wasn't aware that third party stores are used by the general population as commonly as the play store anywhere.


I've been to a developing country where I suspect split between play store and bluetooth APK sharing is about 50/50. Most phones have APK sharing application installed at the point of purchase and some people aren't even signed-in on the Play store, despite using the internet and WhatsApp.

Xender is more popular than Play store near where I live

As commonly? Outside of China, not really a thing. But widely used, and complemented even more strongly with installation of APKs? Yes.

As an Indian who is around many non-tech oriented Android users, I am not sure about a large number of people using third-party stores. It will be interesting to see a survey or study about it.

Another thing is that with such bans, all major ISPs and network carriers are instructed to block the traffic to the related domains, so the app won't work anyway unless they roll out with a lot of changes.


Japan and Australia have legislation in the works and there are rumblings in a few EU countries.

India is not a relevant market.

This is one of those comments that I think there should be a wall of fame for it to be displayed. Another one I'm reminded of is this one[0].

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8279606


You can favourite comments for people to see them in your profile. Click on the time of the comment for the link to appear.

Someone did this for posts last week (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24351073) but I don't know if there would be enough overlap to do it for comments.

IIRC, one of HN's most favorite comments is the one describing the experience of developing the Oracle database.

Here is the list of the most favorited comments on HN as compiled by 'dang:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24360449



Wow, this video about Oracle is a must-watch. I was in fits of laughter.

Bryan is brilliant, but he misses the mark on generalizations. Popular generalizations are actually pretty accurate.

Possibly on a macro scale, rarely on a micro scale.

If you are generalising on the micro scale you're definitely doing it wrong :)

I mean, yeah, but it's a super common bug in humans, who frequently want to translate between scales incorrectly (hence law of large/small numbers gambling errors, some kinds of discrimination/prejudice, bad generalizations, being upset when a 90% likely event doesn't happen, etc.)

As far back as 15 years ago, Oracle had the reputation of being the company where people would come to work, close their office door, and then work on a second job or side project in peace and quiet. Oracle was/is powered by zero innovation and all enterprise sales.

I thought the idea of Microsoft buying TikTok was funny, but I couldn't think of a company more effective to dismantle TikTok than Oracle.


> Oracle was/is powered by zero innovation and all enterprise sales.

Oracle has one of the last couple of proper industrial research labs left in the industry.

It regularly publishes at the top venues in multiple fields and funds a lot of academics.


Also Google, Microsoft, Facebook, IBM... and others

Examples?

Usually they have a paper at Sigmod

2018: https://sigmod2018.org/sigmod_industrial_list.shtml

RAPID: In-Memory Analytical Query Processing Engine with Extreme Performance per Watt

2020: https://sigmod2020.org/sigmod_industrial_list.shtml

Database Workload Capacity Planning using Time Series Analysis and Machine Learning


[citation needed]

Less sarcastically, I’d like to see some examples of this as I have a genuine interest in the topic.



> I thought the idea of Microsoft buying TikTok was funny

You're not wrong - it is a little funny.

But on the other hand, they have been running LinkedIn (and Github!) pretty successfully, so it's not that ridiculous.


> running LinkedIn pretty successfully

Minus the avoidable password breaches


You mean the 2012 password breach that happened 4 years before Microsoft acquired the company?

Meh. Require everyone to submit a TLS client certificate to be able to login.

LinkedIn and Github are not TikTok :)

True, but they have both operated independently & incredibly successfully with full support from Microsoft’s leadership. If TikTok had a future, it was at Microsoft.

And Microsoft has a pretty successful consumer products division -- not the cash cow that enterprise sales are to them, but they do have consumer products. Including the Xbox division, which targets a lot of the market that TikTok does. Exactly what direct-to-consumer business targeting people in their teens/early 20s does Oracle have?

> Exactly what direct-to-consumer business targeting people in their teens/early 20s does Oracle have?

Ah, but therein lies the genius of the purchase.

In 40 years, the current TikTok userbase will be technology-hating, risk-adverse VPs -- a prime Oracle demographic.

They're just getting in early.


Speaking of which, I remember when my friends thought Minecraft was going to die because Microsoft bought Mojang.

Speaking of which, I remember when I thought Minecraft andead because Microsoft bought them.d Mojang were

I know people who worked (full time) for Oracle who didn't even need to go to the office, they just did stuff remotely from time to time (never more than one hour/day). They actually had a second full time job that they went to.

Wait Oracle doesn't have open floor plans?

I guess I'll be polishing my resume.


When I was at Oracle I had a private locking office with a window with a mountain view as an intern.

Amazing. When was that?

2013. They’re still in the same offices though.

They paid for an apartment and car as well!

It’s a great place to be, actually.


How is that possible? Is there just a really high supply of window offices? ie. does the office building have a really high window to floor area ratio?

Thin buildings produce a surprising amount of exterior windows. The last high rise I worked in put most of the common functionality near the core (hallways, bathrooms, elevators, printers) to maximize the amount of work space that had a view.

Sadly it was looking out over the West side of Chicago from the West side of the loop, so the view was mediocre even when the weather played nice.


It makes sense when you realise the building is in the shape of a giant pentagram.

Big server rooms and fabrication labs in the middle, and some support staff in cubicles.

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (where I work) certainly does. It's about similar working environment to most tech companies in the area, so not exactly something to be driving me to seek employment elsewhere.

One of the nice things about this pandemic has been how silent my office is. So much easier to keep my head down and churn code / solutions to problems out.


Depends. I know someone who has an open office floor. The benefit is that the floors that have open offices have newer cafeterias and more amenities than the ones without open offices. Plus, the offices are pretty empty, even if they are open office.

Yes when I worked there a guy literally played WoW in his cubicle all day. It was no secret. He didn’t get fired for performance either, just culled in a RIF lol.

Technically that would make it a startup incubator :-)

The only reason for Oracle to buy TikTok is purely political. It is a 'truly' us company not a CCP company. And I trust NSA more than I trust CCP.

No, that is pretty much accurate. Their flagship database is outstanding, worth every penny, the one to beat. However everything else they touch just wilts and dies. They don’t just have a black thumb, they have eleven of them. They killed Sun, Solaris, libdb (remember sleepycat software?), Java, and would have killed mysql if it didn’t fork. They are the bane of anyone looking for a job that encounters their horrid candidate management software. Forget COVID, murder hornets, and global warming - my nightmare is that one day Richard Hipp retires or falls ill and Oracle takes over SQLite.

Their flagship database was outstanding 20 years ago.

Today..not worth the price tag. And if you do pay the price tag, you're going to need some high priced DBAs to baby it along.

To your list I would add that with Hudson they achieved such an own-goal that all anyone knows is the renamed fork, Jenkins. (Which I believe was named after Leeroy Jenkins...)


> Their flagship database was outstanding 20 years ago.

Agreed. Having worked with and delivered some great solutions with Oracle DB in the 2000's, I've been telling people since at least 2010, that Oracle used to be the answer to the question, "which enterprise database?", but now is the answer to "which is the one vendor I should avoid at all costs?"


It was actually named after the butler from Scooby Doo (Hudson was named after Angus Hudson, the butler from Upstairs, Downstairs)

> Which I believe was named after Leeroy Jenkins...

IIRC, they wanted an English butler name[1] snooty enough to match "Hudson" - and Jenkins fit the bill (you can almost hear the British accent)

1. https://www.jenkins.io/blog/2011/01/11/hudsons-future/


Doing business with Oracle is a very risky thing. Their hard selling tactics are despicable, bordering on blackmail.

Oracle software licenses are so opaque that there's almost no way to be compliant and that's by design.

So in essence: Either you pay more for your existing installation or buy some additional shit, which you don't need, or else.

The or else is the threat of a software audit, which is almost guaranteed to find you non-compliant and gives you 30 days to either pay up or get rid of every Oracle software component. Best of luck with that.

There are umpteen stories about this behavior on the web. For example this: [1].

Oracle's business model is not really technology, but a licensing racket for enterprise customers. Sort of

Nice company you have here, would be a shame if something happens to it

[1] https://www.netnetweb.com/content/blog/oracle-audits-will-ge...

edit : rephrased a sentence


SQLite “license”[0]:

Instead of a license, the SQLite source code offers a blessing:

May you do good and not evil May you find forgiveness for yourself and forgive others May you share freely, never taking more than you give.

[0] https://www.sqlite.org/different.html


Ian Murdock, one of the creators of debian even resigned once sun was acquired by Oracle.

Regarding the MySQL forks, what is the story? Do you mean MariaDB, or some other fork that I'm not aware of? Honestly I'm surprised at how MySQL managed to survive... Among all those other products that you mentioned, I would have thought it would be the first to die, because some people at Oracle might see it as a competitor of Oracle DB.

MySQL success is a mix of momentum, innovation in forks being backported, and a strategic focus on InnoDB at the expense of all other engines.

I'd say they are doing a mediocre job on the whole. But I may just be bitter over recent bugs like renaming a table crashing the server.


didn't Redhat remove MySql from RHEL7 and replace with MariaDB, only to add it back (in addition to Maria) in RHEL8?

Any ideas why?


IIRC are several forks of MySQL other than MariaDB, such as Percona.

Percona is not really a fork, it's the upstream MySQL (8 currently) with some patches which add more visibility to what's going on inside (and some performance stuff like the thread pool).

Arguable these kind of "forks" are the one that keep mysql development and innovation progressing because those vendors would often submit those patches upstream.

> Their flagship database is outstanding, worth every penny, the one to beat.

Nah. If it were any good then the license wouldn't prohibit you from benchmarking it.


Not sure they successfully killed Java yet ...

>Oracle is set to be announced as TikTok’s “trusted tech partner” in the U.S., and the deal is likely not to be structured as an outright sale, the person said.

Bytedance isn’t actually selling TikTok, and the White House gets its win.


Sounds like "joint ventures" that western companies are forced to have in China.

Except in that case, China expects and demands access to virtually everything of any value whatsoever.

Part of me reads this as ByteDance China getting the last laugh in the game by essentially selling to the least qualified buyer.

On the other hand, when I think fun, young, quirky, etc...my mind goes right to Oracle.

I'd say they have been successful with a lot of their acquisitions: BEA, PeopleSoft, Seibel, and many more. Also, I think they have been a better steward of Java than Solaris had been since Java 6.

https://www.oracle.com/corporate/acquisitions/


> Also, I think they have been a better steward of Java than Solaris had been since Java 6.

Sun (the company), not Solaris (the OS). But yeah, Java has done relatively well.


All our clients (some with massive deployments for the time) dropped Weblogic and other BEA products the moment of the acquisition. Where did they do well?

Who is using BEA software now? How is Siebel faring against SFDC? (I honestly don't know, wishing to have nothing to do with either.)

Peoplesoft was pretty entrenched when Oracle bought it, and the state of other options in that field remains pretty grim.


I wonder if there was some deal China made with Zhang Yiming to have ByteDance take a worse offer from Oracle, knowing Oracle would end up killing it.

I don’t know. Netsuite, while a very complicated piece of software, has thrived under Oracle. It’s one of the most powerful ERPs in existence.

No idea why you were down voted. You are 100% correct.

I also got downvoted - maybe someone fucked up their NetSuite implementation.

No it's not.

Anybody remember PeopleSoft?


Depending on what part of TikTok Oracle runs this may actually be a good arrangement that works well for both companies.

If Oracle has anything to do with the app itself or its functionality then TikTok will not do well. But if Oracle just manages the data and cloud operations then this may indeed work out well for both companies. Oracle is competent when it comes to data and cloud. That's their core business after all.


I wonder how the deal is structured with respect to employee stock compensation. I was negotiating with them late last year and most of the comp was going to be in funny-money of the bytedance variety, which is both highly illiquid and hilariously valued. If US tiktok employees get converted to shares of Oracle, that's a substantial upgrade. Of course, they work for Oracle now, but still.

That was unexpected. What Larry will do with it? Sell Oracle to teenagers?

What an irony given Oracle's own roots in USA's espionage agencies.


“Irony” or “makes complete sense?”

This feels like such a strange acquisition for Oracle. Does anyone have insight on how Oracle envisions the TikTok brand and userbase adding value to the rest of the company?

I think this makes sense. Oracle isn't really acquiring TikTok, just its "US Operations". They presumably won't be responsible for developing algorithms, the app, or the backend, and will instead be running the service and hosting all of the data generated in the United States. Looked at this way, it's more like an unusually deep relationship with a cloud services provider than a buyout, and a huge win of business and reputation for Oracle Cloud.

But is it really a huge reputational win? Us geeks know that Tiktok's scale is huge, but your average bank is not going to be terribly impressed that Oracle is now hosting an app still widely viewed as some random frivolous teen twerk thing.

> but your average bank is not going to be terribly impressed that Oracle is now hosting an app still widely viewed as some random frivolous teen twerk thing.

Absolutely not. If anything, the young user base makes TikTok more valuable. It will be viewed as an analogue to Facebook before it exploded.


I'm not doubting TikTok's own value, I'm questioning the assertion that owning TikTok will have reputational benefits for Oracle as a cloud hosting provider.

It’s an application with about a billion users. The benefits are tremendous. Banks are not dumb, they do their research before valuing corps

Again, not a question of Tiktok's valuation, but whether this is relevant to bank considering Oracle Cloud for their own infra.

I'd bet that TikTok continues expanding and becomes viewed as more than that.

Oracle becomes a trusted tech partner of Bytedance:

“ByteDance started opening data centers in India and the US in 2019. This may be strictly for internal purposes, but its possible they plan to launch a cloud hosting service. ByteDance acquired Terark in 2019 which allows databases to run 200x faster by reading compressed data at 50% of the cost. If they launch an external service, the selling point could be faster processing and access to some of ByteDance’s AI tech.

A cloud service combined with enterprise software (and eventually a phone or other hardware) would take a page out of Microsoft’s approach of bundling multiple products and selling them top down through the C- Suite.”

https://turner.substack.com/p/the-rise-of-tiktok-and-underst...


> Does anyone have insight on how Oracle envisions the TikTok brand and userbase adding value to the rest of the company?

Sure. The answer is that there is no such significant added value to Oracle, specifically, but TikTok itself will end up selling for bargain basement prices, meaning that added value isn't necessary for an acquisition to make sense.


Everyone is making the usual Oracle joke once again... but Oracle owns BlueKai, one of the largest data collection companies. That is the answer. TikTok will feed straight into BlueKai. That data is the value it'll add to their company.

It's worse than Yahoo acquiring Tumblr. And that killed Tumblr. How much of TikTok is porn right now?

Oracle needs cloud wins. I doubt they care about the actual functionality of TikTok. (Other than its Trump-annoyance functionality that is enabling this whole transaction, of course.)

In a way this is brilliant from ByteDance. Sell for the most money to a company that will never grow or operate tiktok in a way that can threaten you outside the US.

If you read the latest statement from Microsoft of how they'd have made sure to implement all the latest "privacy" features for TikTok, it's actually a really great news that ByteDance knows better.

What was the most visible outcome of Microsoft's takeover of GitHub? Some software engineers who happen to live in a wrong peninsula in Europe had their GitHub accounts shutdown with no advance notice and no recourse. So much for the rule of law and for social coding!

I think it's great that people from all over the world have a choice of who to give their data to. If there'd be a worldwide antitrust body, US would already be in trouble! Remember when China blocked Twitter and whatever else? Yeah, aren't we the China now?!


And all that because of a bunch of kids disrupting a rally. It's disgraceful that US companies would agree to participate in this forced sale. What's next? Volkwagen? After all, if this is now a legal way to do business I see absolutely no reason why it would stop at TikTok.

First thing they're going to do is install their slow and really difficult to use BI tools and the db that takes hours to download.

It's insane when I tried installing oracle db and BI tools on my laptop. It was the worst software installation process in my life.


so what? oracle acquires a flavor of the month platform.. it'll be a "remember when" type of story, in 2-3 years, when everyone is just starting to forget tiktok

It's very bizarre. What could Oracle possibly gain from TikTok from a business perspective? It seems so far away from their core business. MySQL, SUN, I kind of understand, but TikTok? Why didn't say Google or Amazon make a bid?

> What could Oracle possibly gain from TikTok from a business perspective?

Further credibility with the US government as they deepen their ties with the NSA and US intelligence. Leads to winning more massive government contracts and more favor from future administrations.

Oracle is ahead of the game. It has realized that ingratiating itself with the government is a recipe for long-term success.


It would be interesting to know why Oracle won. Did they offer more money ? Or is TikTok convinced that Oracle won't be able to do something decent with the acquisition ? Other than start fights with facebook etc over tiktok lookalikes ? Oracle will be great at that.

"If we can't have it, then we want to make sure NOONE will profit from it, and we burn that space to the ground in the US" ?

The cynic in me suspects that this is so, Oracle looked like a weird pick from the start. It would have been super interesting to be part of that negotiation.


Mark Ellison is the only leader in tech who openly runs fundraisers for Trump. The cynic in me suspects that's the entirety of the reasoning.

This is of course supposed to say Larry Ellison but I can't edit.


https://archive.is/55ZvG

> Microsoft earlier Sunday said it was notified earlier in the day of the decision by TikTok parent ByteDance Ltd.

> “We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users, while protecting national security interests,” the company said in a statement. “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.”

Yeah, as a self-appointed member of the worldwide trade commission, enforcing the antitrust rules and regulations, I'm really happy that the Microsoft's bid has been declined!


Oracle, really? M&A needs strategic fit to make real sense (for buyers other than financial sponsors), and I don't see any

You don't just pick the highest paying bid, necessarily


It needs strategic fit FOR THE BUYER, not the seller. Besides, M&A is more driveen ny management hubris than business value anyway.

It also matters for the seller, to some extent, because the employees will now work at Oracle. If you're the CEO of TikTok, and now you're "Chief Social Media Officer" or whatever title the buyer will think up, would you rather hold that job at Oracle, Microsoft or somewhere else?

Sure, if you're the shareholder, you may not care what happens to your former employees, but the buyer should care that the value of the asset they just paid for is inclusive of human capital, and that value depends on the opinion of the people working on the seller's side


Not sure if everyone knows this, but Oracle owns and rents the largest personal information database in the world. They have more than Facebook or so it’s rumored.

Can you share more on this?

> Oracle Corp. has spent five years and billions of dollars getting really good at following people around the internet. Six acquisitions reportedly totaling at least $3 billion since 2014

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-06/oracle-di...


More importantly, they own Datalogix, which aggregates loyalty card details for retail.

This means that Oracle are legitimately the best people to answer the question of which half of your advertising was wasted for offline sales.

Weird, right?



Well rumor circulating in China's VC / startup circle is that this ISN'T true either.

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