Last Minute Walmart Deal Delays TikTok Ban for a Week

A ban on TikTok seemed like an assured thing. Now, a last minute new deal has been made and has delayed the ban for a week.

The ban of TikTok seemed to be averted once the Oracle TikTok deal was struck. Then, things started going sideways when Trump expressed skepticism over the Oracle TikTok deal. After that, Trump ultimately rejected the TikTok deal. Chine then cried foul and called out the Trump administration for “bullying“. With the deadline of Sunday looming, a ban seemed pretty certain at that point.

Then, late into the evening yesterday, a new deal was struck. Walmart was a partner with the proposed Microsoft TikTok deal that was ultimately turned down. With Microsoft out of the picture, it looked like Walmart was, by default, also out of the picture as well. Now, TikTok has suddenly proposed a last minute TikTok Oracle Walmart deal. No doubt, it was hastily put together to avert the ban. While the details seemed to be scarce for the time being, it did achieve one thing: the ban has been pushed back by a week. So, at the very least, TikTok has bought time thanks to this latest effort. From the CBC:

U.S. President Donald Trump said he supports a deal that will allow TikTok to continue to operate in the U.S., after threatening to ban the Chinese-owned app in August.

He told reporters at the White House he backs the deal with TikTok owner ByteDance, Oracle and Walmart to create a new company called TikTok Global that will assume TikTok’s U.S. operations.

The U.S. Treasury said in a statement “Oracle will be responsible for key technology and security responsibilities to protect all U.S. user data. Approval of the transaction is subject to a closing with Oracle and Walmart and necessary documentation and conditions to be approved by” the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

The Commerce Department said on Saturday it will delay by one week an order that had been set to take effect late Sunday that would stop Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Apple Inc. from offering TikTok in their U.S. app stores.

A person briefed on the matter said the administration had given the parties a week to close the deal.

So, preliminary results are promising thanks to the Trump administration seemingly warmly welcoming the brand new partnership. Of course, the details are still under review, so it’s not certain that things won’t suddenly go sour again.

With the knowledge that a new American company is being formed, the question is, will China approve of this new offering? After all, China did revise its tech export rules as things got closer to finalization with the previous now failed deal. A question that might influence both governments decision on matters might revolve around source code. If the code isn’t handed over to the US, that might appease the Chinese, but Trump may not like it. If the source code is handed over to this new company, that might appease Trump, but China might turn around and block the deal.

Ultimately, TikTok is having to weigh a careful balancing act between two governments at this point. As already said, it did buy a week worth of time which, in and of itself, is valuable. Even if the Trump administration and related departments gives the greenlight to this, TikTok is still not out of the woods thanks to China having to give a nod to the new deal as well. A very American twist of a last minute Hail Mary shot to avert a full out ban in this story to say the least.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.




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