After a long saga involving a potential takeover of Microsoft then an official offer from Oracle, it looks like Tiktok, along with WeChat, will be started from all app stores. US Department of Commerce issued an order ban both from app stores starting September 20, with a total ban to follow later.
President Trump has made it clear that he views both TikTok and WeChat as a threat to national security and has promised to ban both before. TikTok looked like it could get a reprieve as Microsoft pursued the full buyout of the company, and the president delayed its ban for that process to happen.
But ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, turned down Microsoft’s office and accepted a joint offer from Oracle and Walmart instead. Under these terms, ByteDance retained ownership and Oracle obtained a 20% stake. This was apparently not enough for the administration, as the US Department of Commerce followed through on his order. You can read the complete order at Department of Commerce website, but the important bits are:
As of September 20, 2020, the following transactions are prohibited:
Any service to distribute or maintain the WeChat or TikTok mobile applications, constituent code or application updates via an online mobile application store in the United States;
Any provision of services via the WeChat mobile application for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments in the United States
From September 20, 2020 for WeChat and from November 12, 2020 for TikTok, the following transactions are prohibited:
Any provision of Internet 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;
Any provision of directly contracted or arranged Internet transit or peering services enabling the operation or optimization of the mobile application in the United States;
Any use of the code, functions or constituent services of the mobile application in the operation of software or services developed and / or accessible in the United States.
By analyzing the legal language, we can see that after Sunday September 20, you will no longer be able to download TikTok or WeChat from the 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 November 12, additional measures will be put in place to prevent both apps from working at all, as well as purchases through the TikTok app. Indeed, if nothing changes by then, the two applications will be totally banned. Of course, the order only applies to the United States. Nothing changes if you are outside the United States.
It is also worth noting that a lot can change by November 12. Lawsuits are already underway regarding the WeChat ban, and according to Android CentralJudge Laurel Beeler has indicated that she may be in favor of the argument that the presidential decree is too vague. However, she has delayed issuing a final order and we are awaiting a final decision.
TikTok may also try to negotiate to find redemption terms that the administration deems acceptable. And November 12 is after the next presidential election, which could change everything.
We will keep you posted as new information is revealed.
Source: US Department of Commerce