While plenty of companies might want to buy TikTok and gain access to the app’s scores of millions of users in the U.S. alone, there are few with deep enough pockets, not to mention the engineering resources, to pull off a successful acquisition. Another variable that will be crucial to closing a deal: having enough clout and experience in Washington, D.C., to convince the Trump administration that TikTok’s ties to ByteDance, its Chinese parent, have been permanently severed.
Microsoft and Oracle, currently the two leading pursuers of TikTok, both have deep connections in Washington. But the nature of their relationships differs: While Microsoft over decades has built up a presence in the capital that reflects ties to both Republicans and Democrats, Oracle is one of the few big tech companies whose top executives have expressed strong support for President Donald Trump. That could give Oracle an edge: President Trump on Tuesday called Oracle a “great company” and said he would support its purchase of TikTok. Our profiles below highlight some of the key figures in Washington for both firms.