Sep 28, 2020 14:12 UTC
  • US judge blocks Trump administration's ban on new TikTok downloads

A US judge has temporarily blocked an order by the administration of President Donald Trump to bar Apple Inc AAPL.O and Alphabet Inc's Google GOOGL.O from offering Chinese-owned short video-sharing app TikTok for download.

US District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington blocked the order set to take effect at 11:59 p.m. local time Sunday, granting a preliminary injunction TikTok owner ByteDance sought to allow the app to remain available at US app stores.

The judge, however, declined “at this time” to block further Commerce Department restrictions that are set to take effect on Nov. 12.

The restrictions on technical and business arrangements would have the impact of making the app impossible to use in the United States, TikTok has said.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said in a statement it "will comply with the injunction and has taken immediate steps to do so."

The Trump administration previously sought to force China’s ByteDance to hand over TikTok's US operations to an American firm, namely, Microsoft.

The US has long been using national security concerns as an excuse to impose a ban on Chinese communication apps and technologies.

It has already targeted Chinese tech companies, including telecom giant Huawei, over allegations of security threats.

The new development comes at a time when negotiations are being held to hammer out a deal for Walmart Inc. and Oracle Corp. to take stakes in a new company, TikTok Global, that would supervise US operations.

Despite Trump saying he has given the deal his "blessing," its key terms, including who will have majority ownership, are still in dispute, with ByteDance saying that any deal will have to be approved by China.

Meanwhile, Beijing has revised its list of technologies subject to export bans, which gives it a say over any TikTok agreement.