Late Sunday night, news broke that TikTok owner ByteDance would not be accepting a Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) buyout bid. Instead, the Chinese company with a wildly popular video-sharing app chose Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) as its future partner in what has been a hotly contested bidding war.To be clear, this is not an outright sale of the app, as was expected. Oracle has only brokered a partnership deal.
So what benefits can Oracle expect?
Buying a company versus being a trusted partner
First, Oracle may not be buying any shares or interests in the Chinese-owned company. Instead, should the deal be approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), Oracle will be taking over stewardship of TikTok’s U.S. company holdings.
As a “trusted technology provider” in the proposal, Oracle has not released specific details on how it might oversee or improve the U.S. government’s national security concerns related to TikTok and U.S. users. On the other hand, a Microsoft press release stated that the company “would have made significant changes to ensure the service met the highest standards for security, privacy, online safety, and combatting disinformation,” directly addressing the geopolitical tension surrounding TikTok’s wild popularity and operation in the U.S. In fact, these intended protocol changes may prove to be why Microsoft’s takeover bid was summarily rejected.
Operationally speaking, being a trusted TikTok technology provider does not pass along many rights to Oracle, unlike becoming its controlling owner. TikTok code could potentially be subject to code audits since American-owned Oracle would take over the app’s hosting, and this would reduce the possibility of directly passing along user data to foreign governments and agencies. But with the app’s headquarters already in the U.S., nothing about the situation has essentially changed. Oracle would not be rewriting the TikTok algorithm or handling moderation, so it will be just as easy for ByteDance to push potential propaganda or censor undesirable messages should it so desire.
Paid more than just brownie points
Oracle will presumably be paid a handsome amount in exchange for the partnership deal. Depending on how the deal is structured, it could boost Oracle’s cloud business by opening up digital advertising opportunities to the more than 100 million monthly active TikTok users in the U.S. It might make Oracle more visible to younger consumers, who make up 69% of the app’s user base, and give it control over a prominent advertising venue. Or, at the very least, Oracle will receive a lump sum payment that makes the move worth its efforts.
Nevertheless, unless the partnership deal allows the company to have unexpected access to TikTok’s inner workings — similar to a buyout deal — Oracle will probably not be able to affect the app in any way that would make it safer for U.S. consumers who may be worried about their data being sent to China or having foreign malware downloaded to their devices. What the deal does accomplish, though, is create the facsimile of U.S. oversight that could potentially resolve the current political tension that has arisen from the U.S. government’s TikTok data concerns.
Regardless, if the deal is approved, tech stock giant Oracle should be paid well. Be it a cash partnership deal to make TikTok’s issues go away or a business partnership that opens up new revenue streams, Oracle’s bid will help boost the company higher, making it the ultimate winner in this whole debacle.
COVID-19 pandemic taking toll on mental health, Alberta survey says – CBC.ca
An online survey of Albertans who reached out for help over COVID-19 suggests the pandemic is taking a toll on mental health, with increased signs of obsessive behaviour, stress and depression.
Vincent Agyapong, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Alberta, has just published results of a survey he took of people who subscribed to Text-4-Hope, a government service that provides a daily reassuring text message.
He found abut 60 per cent of respondents had become worried about dirt, germs and viruses since the COVID outbreak.
About 54 per cent had begun washing their hands “very often or in a special way,” which could be considered a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder.
Nearly 50 per cent were considered likely candidates for anxiety disorders, and more than 40 per cent were likely clinically depressed.
And almost 85 per cent of respondents reported moderate to high stress.
Agyapong cautions the sample isn’t representative and that some level of stress and unusual behaviour is understandable in the current situation.
But he says his findings suggest the pandemic is affecting the public’s mental health.
WATCH: 'Virtual' Rotaryfest 2020 at 7 pm – SooToday
Despite an unprecedented year of obstacles, one of Sault Ste. Marie’s longest-running traditions returns in a brand new format. The Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie is present Virtual Rotaryfest, streaming on SooToday.
“Our Rotary Club has been celebrating Rotaryfest for almost 100 years – so when it became clear it couldn’t happen in the way it always has, we knew we had to find a creative way to still bring some of the fun of the festival to Sault Ste. Marie,” shared Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie President, Megan Wigmore. “With the virtual format this year, not only do we get to see some of our favourite local bands and performers that have become festival fixtures; we get to bring in some former Saultites to join the party as well!”
One of those former Saultites is Crystal Shawanda. The JUNO Award winning Canadian songstress will headline the virtual event with a Rotaryfest-exclusive performance. The online celebration of music will also include performances from crowd favourites Jay Case and Frank Deresti, Jackson Reed, Mustang Heart, Kelly MacGillivray, Kt Antler & Kyle McKey, Bone Yard, and Tyson Hanes.
This year’s Virtual Rotaryfest has been made possible through the generous support of OLG, SooToday, and Canadian Heritage.
Fourth patient dies as Foothills hospital outbreaks continue to grow – Calgary Herald
A fourth patient has died as a result of COVID-19 outbreaks in three units of Foothills Medical Centre.
Alberta Health Services confirmed the death of the patient at the northwest Calgary hospital Saturday, the latest development in Alberta’s largest active outbreak.
The outbreaks continued to grow Saturday, as two more patients and one more health-care worker tested positive for the novel coronavirus. In total, 20 patients and 18 hospital staff have been infected amid the outbreaks.
COVID-19 cases have been confirmed at three units of Foothills: one in the general medicine ward as well as two cardiac units.
As well, AHS confirmed to Postmedia Friday three additional units had been placed on “outbreak watch,” meaning they were being monitored for potential COVID-19 cases. Those units on watch include one cardiac unit and two in the general medicine ward.
AHS did not provide an update Saturday on the number of staff members forced to isolate as a result of the outbreaks. On Friday, they said 136 staff members had been asked to quarantine.
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