The U.S. Has Had Enough of Huawei and China!
President Trump has had enough. He signed an executive order banning U.S. companies and government agencies from utilizing telecommunications equipment that poses a risk to national security. He has barred the Chinese Communication company Huawei from purchasing U.S. technology or selling its technology in the U.S. Huawei is now on a list of foreign firms who work to undermine our foreign policy or national security. Companies on this list cannot get components or software from U.S. manufacturers without sanctioned approval and a license issued by the U.S. Commerce Department.
So, this week, Google announced that Huawei would no longer be allowed to purchase or use their Android operating system or any of their Google services on their devices, including access to the Google Play store.
Additionally, earlier this week ARM holdings also cut ties with Huawei. ARM is the provider of critical technology that Huawei uses in their smartphones.
Microsoft also fell in line with the Executive Order suspending the sale and use of their Window operating system to Huawei’s for use in their MateBook X Pro. Additionally, they are no longer actively selling that machine in their online store. The Window ban will also impact Microsoft-certified Huawei’s servers that utilize a hybrid cloud solution for Microsoft’s Azure stack.
There is no news from Intel and Qualcomm on how they will handle the Executive Order.
According to Huawei, they have their line of smartphone processors and modems but rely on Intel to supply chips for both their servers the central processing units for their range of laptops.
However, Intel is dealing with their chip problems we will have to see how that all shakes out. Their device business no longer has access to any current or upcoming chip designs. As the second largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, Huawei relies on all U.S. companies to help produce their products. It does not bode well for them, at least for the foreseeable future.
When Huawei’s customers lose access to US-built software (apps), it may cause them to consider ditching their Huawei device for a fully supported Google Android device such as a Samsung or even moving to an iPhone.
Many of Huawei’s existing customers are a bit confused by this The U.S. government ban and are worried that their phones are no longer eligible for O.S. updates and that they would be cut off from all Google services and their Google Play store.
Google has been granted a short reprieve by the U.S. Commerce Department to allow Huawei supply critical Android software updates to existing devices for the next 90 days. The purpose of this extension is to give Huawei smartphone customers the ability to access any software updates and for telecommunication providers to find alternative products. However, these users will no longer have access to the Google Play store or google apps. However, this Microsoft did not receive an extension for Microsoft Windows licenses.
The major problem that Huawei faces is their reliance on the Android operating system, which powers their global line of smartphones. Additionally, many of the broad range of favorite apps available in the Google Play store are used to woo customers to their line of phones.
Why is this happening to Huawei?
China has a long history of spying, and our cell networks make a very tempting target for them. Huawei also makes several network infrastructure devices used in cell phone towers (basically, the hardware that your phone connects to), alongside Ericsson and Qualcomm. For the U.S., it is a logical response to a real concern. Huawei is a wholly owned corporation of the communist Chinese government.
Is Chinese spying influence embedded in Huawei’s technology?
It is unclear, but if they were able to embed their spying into an international communication system, it would allow them an opportunity for the communist Chinese government to conduct espionage activities or possibly even remotely control some of our vital telecom systems.
After a former MI6 chief circulated warnings about the risk Huawei’s involvement could pose to their National security the British government is now reviewing the role that Huawei will be allowed to play in the construction of its 5G network.
In the aftermath of President Trump’s Executive Order, Huawei announced that they are working on their mobile operating system but declined to publish its availability date. So it is unclear how far in the development process these operating systems are. Currently, only a few alternatives to Android OS, their preferred supplier, exist. Many had tried before and failed.
Although they appear to be talking a good game, It might just prove too little too late as most other attempts to disrupt the mobile duopoly (iOS and Android) has not been successful. Any phone maker hoping to cut out a part of the mobile duopoly will require massive innovation, and it is doubtful if Huawei can muster the creativity. The Chinese prefer to steal I.P. and copy (reverse engineer) vs. innovatively design, anything.
They might be planning on building off of an older version of Android (forked AndroidOS) to meet their Western world supply needs but the according to ABI Research customers are fleeing these half-baked Android phones and are scooping up the full Google-powered Android phones droves. That alone should warn Huawei from pursuing this path.
Google does sell a stripped down version of their Android operating system (available on Google’s Pixel) There is nothing to slow down your phone. It is vanilla with no added customizations. The Huawei phone experience is quite different because their phones ship with custom skin known as EMUI or Emotion U.I. They are anything but stock Android.
Huawei has been actively recruiting app makers on the European continent, one of it’s largest markets, in hopes that they can develop their European centric alternative to the Google Play store. However, that would first require a completed proprietary Huawei operating system for the app developers to build on. This market for developers would be restricted because no U.S. developers could contribute to its product line.
What does this mean for Huawei?
Although they tried to “put lipstick on a pig,” and boast that they have been preparing for this type of situation since mid-2018 and have a backup plan in place that includes hoarding components while designing its chips. They claim that they have stockpiled enough necessary components and semiconductors to remain fully operational for the next quarter.
With over a million users that don’t live in Mainland China having access to Google services and apps that they have come to rely on for their daily activities as well as no longer having the ability to receive updates and patches makes having a Huawei phone less attractive. Additionally, many third-party apps that rely on location services provided by Google maps will now also be unavailable on Huawei phones. Without access to services that they have come to rely on the Huawei phones have lost their appeal and might just be relegated to paperweight status.