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Shock move: Oracle re-emerges from obscurity

Paul Brislen, Editor. 19 August 2020, 8:03 am

Oracle, once famous for its software and more lately for its founder's attempts to win the America's Cup yachting regatta, has burst back into the limelight this week.

First the company put its hand up to buy Chinese social media maverick TikTok, joining the feeding sharks circling the beleaguered company after the US president effectively outlawed its activities in the United States, and now it's taken a swing at Google's mobile operating system, claiming the company tracks users movements "even if ­location history settings are turned off and the incognito privacy feature is turned on".

The US president has given TikTok's owners 90 days to sell its US operation or cease trading in the US (although his legal ability to do so remains sketchy) and the company has been courted by a number of high profile entities including apparent front-runner Microsoft. 

But now with Oracle swinging into action it's like to devolve into bickering about the real value of the company with estimates ranging from US$20-50 billion for the American operation alone.

Oracle is offering to take all the non-Asian assets off TikTok's owners' hands, which would include US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand users in the mix. The users themselves, naturally, get no say in any of this and don't get paid for the content they produce but that's a discussion for another time.

Meanwhile, Oracle's second front with Google has come as the Australian competition watchdog bares its teeth claiming Google misled users and continued to track them even after "Location History" was turned off on their devices. Oracle is still pursuing Google through the courts claiming Google infringed on its legal ownership of Java by copying some 11,000 lines of code.

While yachting tactics may not help Oracle owner Larry Ellison too much in this case, clearly the America's Cup legal wrangles on bygone years are providing a template for his commercial interests as well.


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