Technology Roundup – TikTok and WeChat downloads to be barred in U.S. starting Sunday, Instagram, TikTok heads engage as deadlines close in

Published on: September 18, 2020
Author: Amy Liu

TikTok and WeChat downloads to be barred in U.S. starting Sunday

The U.S. is set to bar folks from downloading TikTok (BDNCE) or WeChat (OTCPK:TCEHY) apps beginning September 20, says Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Competitors Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Snap (NYSE:SNAP) are moving higher in premarket action, while potential TikTok buyer Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) is losing some ground. Potential minority TikTok investor Walmart (NYSE:WMT) is up 1% premarket.

Also moving lower on the news is major TikTok vendor Fastly (NYSE:FSLY), down 2.5% premarket.

More from Ross: Talks between TikTok and CIFUS are ongoing, and a full TikTok shutdown would come on Nov. 12 if there’s no deal.

Instagram, TikTok heads engage as deadlines close in

A fresh public exchange between the heads of Instagram and TikTok highlights the stakes of the ticking clock running before TikTok downloads are barred in the U.S. this weekend.

While Instagram (maker of TikTok rival feature Reels) seemingly stands to gain from any setback for TikTok, Adam Mosseri (head of Instagram) says on Twitter “I’ve said this before, but a U.S. TikTok ban would be quite bad for Instagram, Facebook, and the Internet more broadly.”

TikTok leader Vanessa Pappas has responded to Mosseri: “We agree that this type of ban would be bad for the industry. We invite Facebook and Instagram to publicly join our challenge and support our litigation. This is a moment to put aside our competition and focus on core principles like freedom of expression and due process of law.”

Pappas took over leadership of TikTok (BDNCE) overall in late August after the departure of CEO Kevin Mayer; she had been leading TikTok’s U.S. operations.

To add to the drama, the name of Instagram (FB +0.5%) co-creator Kevin Systrom has begun circulating this week as a potential successor to Mayer in leading TikTok worldwide.

Daily developments are spinning around a deal that would see Oracle (ORCL -0.7%) and Walmart (NYSE:WMT) taking minority stakes in TikTok, which would become a global company headquartered in the U.S. and reportedly headed for an initial public offering within a year.

Meanwhile, The Information’s Alex Heath notes TikTok saying it will challenge the Commerce Dept. decision to bar downloads, calling it “unjust.”

Verizon, Amazon expand collaboration on Ring Alarm kit

Verizon (VZ -0.3%) and (NASDAQ:AMZN) are expanding their relationship to offer Verizon customers the Ring Alarm Security Kit with Verizon LTE/Security by Ring plan.

That seven-piece setup offers hardware including base station, keypad, range extender, motion detector and three contact sensors along with backup connectivity on Verizon wireless in case home Wi-Fi connectivity is lost.

For a limited time customers will get $50 off the purchase of the kit with the purchase of any new smartphone from Verizon – or $100 off the kit with the purchase of any new Motorola smartphone.

The kit costs $229.99, and a $10/month subscription to Security by Ring includes professional monitoring, cellular backup, and 60 days of video storage for all cameras, billed through customers’ existing Verizon bill.

Salesforce to add 12K jobs in the next year, CEO says (CRM -1.3%) CEO Marc Benioff says the company plans to add 4,000 new jobs over the next six months and 12,000K over the next year; the company’s current workforce totals 54,000.

The news comes just a few weeks after the company reportedly began notifying employees of planned job cuts, which came five months after Benioff pledged there would be no significant layoffs for 90 days.

CRM shares had surged to a new all-time high after the company raised its full-year forecast and reported quarterly revenue that topped $5B for the first time.

RBC sees Amazon’s logistics network as powerful tailwind

The build-out of’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) logistics network strategy isn’t getting enough recognition from the market and could provide a powerful long-term tailwind, writes RBC Capital Markets’ Mark Mahaney.

He sees the investments providing “major service & cost advantages that should shine through this holiday season and well beyond” as the tech and online commerce giant is able to deliver packages quicker and more reliably “than any other retailer.”

At the same time, it’s able to save costs and reduce reliance on third-party shippers including UPS and the U.S. Postal Service.

Could also “set itself up with long-term opportunities like a globally-based Shipping With Amazon,” writes Mahaney, who rates AMZN Outperform with a $3,800 price target.

AMZN +0.5% in premarket trading.

Quant rating for Amazon is Neutral; SA Author’s average rating is Bullish (4 Very Bullish, 8 Bullish, 9 Neutral, 1 Bearish, 1 Very Bearish).