What the Huawei-Google spat means for you

Alonzo Simpson
May 21, 2019

Google, owned by Alphabet Inc, said it would enact restrictions on Android updates after U.S. President Donald Trump added Huawei to a trade blacklist, making it extremely hard for it to do business with U.S. counterparts.

"We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications", Google said in a statement Monday.

The Trump administration last week banned U.S. companies from selling to Huawei without a government license, significantly upping the ante in the ongoing trade war between Washington and Beijing. While current Huawei products will be able to download app updates from Google, future smartphones will lose the ability to update their operating system or access the Play Store and services such as YouTube.

"For users of our services, Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices", a Google spokesman said.

It shouldn't be a problem for Huawei to find other Chinese and non-American suppliers, independent political analyst Alessandro Bruno told RT, pointing out that the North American market is already saturated and most new growth is in China and other parts of Asia anyway.

Top US tech companies have suspended the supply of their software and gear to the Chinese telecom giant.

Reuters claims that Google has stopped providing Huawei with hardware and software products, except those covered by open source licenses. It's unknown how badly this will damage Huawei smartphone sales, but most consumers will be displeased to learn that if they buy a Huawei smartphone, they will be getting an inferior version of the Android operating system than they have been used to.

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Tehran has asked the other signatories, including Germany, Britain and France, to help protect its economy from sanctions. It underscores the mercurial approach of the USA president to world affairs - restraint one moment and bluster the next.

At the same time, the U.S. Commerce Department added Huawei to the Bureau of Industry and Securities Entity List, which requires U.S. companies to get the government's permission to sell or transfer technology to Huawei. Google will reportedly stop licensing new Huawei phones but now it is officially reassuring existing owners they have nothing to worry about. It is outside of China where this United States sanction will have its greatest toll.

While Huawei's Chinese market may see minimal impact from Google's suspension - users largely use Huawei's proprietary software and homegrown apps - it could have a major effect on worldwide markets.

The US's concerns over Huawei may still represent "a very different reality from the perspective of other nations", he said.

The decision, in the midst of a USA trade war with China, means that Huawei users will start losing access to Google's proprietary services such as Gmail and Maps, and be shut out of future upgrades to Android on their phones.

Huawei has said it has spent the last few years preparing a contingency plan by developing its own technology in case it is blocked from using Android.

The impact is expected to be minimal in the Chinese market.

However, things do not have to be completely disadvantageous or a crushing blow for the Chinese company.

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