Report: Google Deals Heavy Blow to Huawei

Chinese company won't get Android updates
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2019 2:15 AM CDT
Google: Services on Huawei Phones Will Function, For Now
Huawei's mobile phones are displayed at a telecoms service shop in Hong Kong, Friday, March 29, 2019.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

The world's second-biggest smartphone brand has been dealt a potentially crushing blow by new US government restrictions. Google has suspended all business with Huawei that requires the transfer of hardware, software, or services, meaning the Chinese company will not receive updates to the Android operating system, Reuters reports. Google says it is "reviewing the implications" of a federal government order that requires export licenses for technology sales to Huawei, though it stresses that its apps will continue to function on existing Huawei devices, the AP reports. More:

  • "Complying with requirements." "We assure you while we are complying with all US gov't requirements, services like Google Play & security from Google Play Protect will keep functioning on your existing Huawei device," Google tweeted. The restrictions, however, mean that the next version of Android may not be available in Huawei devices, and that future Huawei devices may no longer have apps like YouTube, the BBC reports.

  • An "instant kill switch." Google services are already blocked in China, but almost 50% of Huawei's sales are now overseas. Analysts say the US restrictions, which apply to dozens of Huawei suppliers, could end its hopes of becoming the world's top smartphone maker by 2020. "It will be like an instant kill switch for Huawei’s ambition to overtake Samsung in the global market," Nicole Peng at tech market analysis firm Canalys tells CNBC.
  • Open source only. Google's move means that Huawei will be restricted to using the Android Open Source Project, and it will only be able to deliver Android security updates when they are made available on the open source project, the Verge reports.
  • Response from China. A spokesman for China's foreign ministry said Beijing will "monitor the development of the situation," the AP reports. The spokesman said "China supports Chinese companies" and it will use "legal weapons" to protect their rights.
  • Huawei was prepared. Earlier this year, Huawei execs said they had prepared their own operating system to use in case the company was blocked from using American software, reports the Guardian. "We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally," the company said Monday.
(More Huawei stories.)

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