Last week, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced a ban on TikTok and WeChat, intended to remove both from all U.S. app stores starting Sunday, September 20. That date has passed and both apps are still available for download. Both apps managed to get a respite, but it remains to be seen how long that will take.
Oracle and Walmart have teamed up and won the tender process. However, ByteDance was the majority owner and Oracle only had a 20% stake. When the US Department of Commerce announced the impending ban, Oracle / Walmart’s offer didn’t seem good enough.
But things are changing fast, and now President Trump has agreed to the Oracle and Walmart deal to buy a stake in TikTok. However, the exact details are murky. According to Oracle CEO: “After TikTok Global is formed, Oracle / Walmart will make their investment and TikTok Global shares will be distributed to their owners, Americans will be the majority and ByteDance will not own TikTok Global.”
ByteDance appears to disagree, claiming it will hold the majority of TikTok. In any case, the US Department of Commerce announced that it would postpone the ban by one week to September 27, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. (no time zone specified). Therefore, TikTok is initially available for download from the App Store while all companies involved work out the details.
WeChat, on the other hand, is not involved in any buyouts. Instead, the courts stepped in to block the ban. WeChat users sued on behalf of the company, arguing that a ban would affect First Amendment’s freedom of speech.
US Judge Laurel Beeler agreed and blocked the ban for these reasons other elements for the injunction. “
The U.S. Department of Commerce has not commented on the ruling, but has an appeal to try to overturn the order and enforce the ban. So WeChat is not out of the woods yet.
via The Verge, TechCrunch, CNBC