If approved, ByteDance’s proposal to make Oracle the “trusted technology provider” for the US operations of TikTok would make the US government’s scandal over the Chinese-owned social network less radical than the threat to simply shut it down in the US. Telling companies where they are and aren’t allowed to host data is still very unlike US, but it’s common practice for China, whose officials are accusing the American government of “abusing national power” by meddling in ByteDance.
Foreign companies aren’t allowed to do business in China without a local partner. When it gets to cloud infrastructure, they are required to have Chinese partners operate the data centers that host it. Ask Microsoft, whose Azure China availability regions are operated by the Chinese data center provider 21Vianet; or Amazon, whose AWS China availability regions are operated by Beijing Sinnet Technology; or Google Cloud, which has given up on launching what would be an “isolated region” in China altogether.
By telling ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company, to give up control of its US infrastructure, sell the company, or face being shut down, President Donald Trump is making US appear less like US and more like China.
Cloud industry analysts seem to agree that the deal (whatever it is, since no details have been released) will be good for Oracle if it means Oracle will become TikTok’s cloud provider in the US. Running infrastructure for what is poised to become the next most relevant social network – and one that’s centered on video content – could be a good customer-references builder for a cloud provider. Video is technically demanding, and Oracle could use it to showcase the technical might of its infrastructure.
But, if the deal did go through, how soon would people forget that TikTok didn’t make the switch voluntarily?