Google cuts ties with Huawei. That may be a ‘kill switch’ for the Chinese firm’s global smartphone ambition

  • Google has suspended business activity with Huawei that involves the transfer or hardware, software and key technical services.
  • That means Huawei will not be able to license the Android operating system complete with Google services and will instead have to use an open-source version.
  • Analysts said that could cause big problems for the company internationally, where nearly half of its smartphone shipments go.
  • Other Huawei suppliers, including Qualcomm and Intel, reportedly told employees they will not sell to the Chinese firm until further notice.

Google’s move to stop licensing its Android mobile operating system to Huawei could deal a huge blow to the Chinese tech giant’s ambitions to become the top player in smartphones globally.
The U.S. tech conglomerate has suspended business activity with Huawei that involves the transfer of hardware, software and key technical services. Google made the move in order to comply with Washington’s decision to put Huawei on the so-called “Entity List,” meaning American firms need to get a license to sell products to the Chinese firm.
It means Huawei can no longer license Google’s proprietary Android operating system and other services that it offers. Instead, Huawei is now only able to use a public version of Google’s operating system through the Android Open Source Project. It means future Huawei phones will not have the Google services that users have come to expect on Android devices.
“We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications,” a Google spokesperson said on Monday. “For users of our services, Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices.”
A Huawei spokesperson told CNBC that the company is “evaluating the possible impact of this U.S. government action on consumers.”
“Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefitted both users and the industry,” the spokesperson said.
“Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products covering those have been sold or still in stock globally. We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally.”
It’s a huge blow to the Chinese firm, which relies heavily on Android for the smartphones it sells outside of China. Within China, the company uses a modified version of Android that doesn’t have Google apps pre-installed because the search giant’s services are blocked there. But in markets outside of China, Huawei’s smartphones run Android complete with Google apps…

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