After a long story involving a potential buyout from Microsoft and then an official bid from Oracle, it looks like Tiktok, along with WeChat, will be launched from all app stores. The US Department of Commerce issued an order banning both from app stores from September 20, with a total ban to follow later.
President Trump has made it clear that he considers both TikTok and WeChat a threat to national security and promised to ban the two earlier. TikTok looked like it might get a delay when Microsoft pursued a total acquisition of the company, and the president was working on his ban for the process to play out.
But ByteDance, TikTok̵7;s parent company, rejected the Microsoft office and instead accepted a joint bid from Oracle and Walmart. Under these terms, ByteDance retained ownership and Oracle received a 20% stake. It was obviously not enough for the administration, as the US Department of Commerce followed up with its order. You can read the entire order at The Ministry of Trade’s website, but the important pieces are as follows:
As of September 20, 2020, the following transactions are prohibited:
- All services provided to distribute or maintain WeChat or TikTok mobile applications, component code or application updates through an online application for mobile applications in the United States;
- Any provision of services via WeChat mobile application for the purpose of transferring money or processing payments within the United States
From 20 September 2020 for WeChat and from 12 November 2020 for TikTok, the following transactions are prohibited:
- Any provision of web hosting services enabling the operation or optimization of the mobile application in the United States;
- Any provision of content delivery network services enabling the operation or optimization of the mobile application in the United States;
- All services that are directly contracted or arranged via the Internet or peering services that enable the operation or optimization of the mobile application within the United States;
- Any use of the mobile application’s inbound code, features or services to operate software or services developed and / or available in the United States
When we analyze the legal number, we can see after Sunday 20 September that you can no longer download TikTok or WeChat from app stores, but if you already have the apps, they should continue to work. You will also no longer be able to make payments or purchases in WeChat, but TikTok in-app purchases should still work.
After 12 November, further measures are underway to prevent the two apps from working at all and together with purchases via the TikTok app. Effectively, if nothing changes from time to time, the two apps will be completely banned. Of course, the order only applies within the United States. Nothing changes if you are outside the United States.
It is also worth noting that much can change up to and including 12 November. Trials are already underway on the WeChat ban, and according to Android Central, Judge Laurel Beeler has stated that she may be sympathetic to the argument that the president’s executive order is too vague. However, she agreed to issue a final order, and we are waiting for a final decision.
TikTok can also try to negotiate to find purchase terms that the administration finds acceptable. And November 12 is after the next presidential election, which could change everything.
We will keep you updated when new information comes out.
Source: US Department of Commerce