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Bytedance seeks chinas approval for U.S. TikTok deal

Yahoo Finance’s Brian Sozzi, Alexis Christoforous, and Dan Howley discuss the latest news in Oracle-Walmart deal with TikTok.

Video Transcript

BRIAN SOZZI: The fate of TikTok is lying in the hands of Chinese authorities. The social media platform’s owner ByteDance is seeking approval from Beijing to complete the White House-backed Oracle, Walmart deal. Yahoo Finance tech editor Dan Howley is here with the details. Dan, it just keeps going on.

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, this is just another kind of, I guess, advancement in the saga of the TikTok story. Really, you know, if you think about it, Microsoft seemed to have dodged a bullet here when it comes to kind of missing out on this deal. They were obviously the other suitor that was involved in the situation.

Oracle’s still there. Walmart’s still there, still hanging in. But now, yeah, this is going to Beijing. Whether or not they will allow something like this to happen remains up in the air.

But you know, we saw that some of the state media over the weekend and late last week basically saying that this was America acting as gangsters, things along those lines. So I think that this is going to be something that’s pretty problematic. I don’t know if we’ll see anything come to a conclusion by the end of this week though.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: It looks like we’re getting some breaking news regarding this as it takes yet another turn. This just breaking, a TikTok judge asks the US whether to delay the Trump ban. So perhaps they’re going to be given a little more time to sort things out, Dan.

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, the ban has been something that’s been kind of ongoing. There was the idea that they were being taken out of the App Store. Then, you know, with WeChat, it was they were going to be canceled outright.

With TikTok, it was they were going to be taken out of the App Store, and then they were going to be able to hold on until the end of the election, which gave people the idea that they were using WeChat as kind of an example to set that TikTok would then be able to look at, and then it would kind of scare TikTok into– or Beijing into acquiescing to the US demands. But yeah, this, I don’t think, is going to get done as soon as people would like. And as I said, it seems that Microsoft really, really dodged this bullet because this just acrimonious relationship between the two countries and how they handle this is just going to continue to go forward.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: I want to switch gears a minute and talk “Fortnite” because it’s teaming up with Spotify and, I think, Tinder against Apple regarding the App Store. What do we know about this?

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, this is a new group called the Coalition for App Fairness, and it’s essentially a bunch of app developers coming together to kind of air their grievances about the various app stores out there. Specifically, they point to Apple on their website more than Google, which is interesting. I think it’s worth pointing out that both companies charge the same 30% commission for payments made through apps or for apps in their respective app store, so it’s not as though Apple is the only one doing it.

The issue that companies have with Apple is that Apple also has a walled garden kind of ecosystem, whereas you can get a third-party app store on Android and download apps for that, you can’t do that on Apple. And so app developers see that as an ongoing issue. For instance, “Fortnite” is no longer available in the App Store on your iPhone or in the App Store for your Android phone, but you can download a third-party app store for your Android phone and then download the app there.

So it kind of, you know, is this ongoing back-and-forth which is the worse of two evils. But this really is a lobbying group, more or less, for these developers. And it’s big names. It’s, you know, the likes of Spotify, Epic Games obviously, Base Camp is in there as well. And they’ve issued complaints about Google in the past and their search dominance. So I think this is just kind of another they smell blood in the water because of the DOJ, the FTC, and the various investigations and think, well, if we can get this pile on, really get our message across, maybe something will have to change.

BRIAN SOZZI: Dan Howley, thanks so much.

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