Google parent company Alphabet has discontinued its relationship with Huawei. This applies not only to Android but also to all other Google apps. However, open source software is excluded.
Alphabet Inc. has terminated all trade relations with Chinese firm Huawei with immediate effect, according to Reuters news agency. The decision affects all Huawei hardware and software. The world's second largest smartphone manufacturer loses immediate access to all updates of the Android operating system. However, the components of the mobile operating system that are under open source licenses are excluded from the block.
Huawei's smartphones sold outside China will also lose access to other Google apps and services such as Play Store and Gmail as a result of this decision. According to the Reuters source, internal discussions are still going on about exactly which services are affected by this block.
Even if Huawei can still access the free parts of Android, Google will probably stop all support and any further cooperation with the Chinese manufacturer. There have been no comments made by Huawei or the US Department of Commerce so far.
The background to the decision is a decree issued by US President Donald Trump. This not only prevents US companies from buying hardware for 5G network expansion from companies such as Huawei. In principle, the blacklist prohibits all trade relations with Huawei. The US government accuses the smartphone maker and mobile network of spying for the Chinese government. Huawei rejects these accusations rigorously. Most recently, the company said that CEO Ren Zhengfei would dissolve Huawei if the Chinese government ever demanded it spy on its behalf.
In March, Huawei's smartphone boss Richard Yu let it be known that he had his own operating system in reserve. If a situation ever arises in which other operating systems (like Android) can no longer be used, be prepared. Now, Huawei might actually have to fall back on its own OS.
Huawei responds to the ban
We reached out to Huawei for an official statement and received the following response. The statement was originally issued in German. It has been translated for our English language audience.
"Huawei has made significant contributions to the development and growth of Android worldwide. As one of Android's global key partners, we have worked closely with their open source platform to develop an ecosystem that benefits both users and industry.
"Huawei will continue to provide security updates and services for all existing Huawei and Honor smartphones and tablets. This applies to devices sold and in stock worldwide.
"We will continue to work on developing a secure and sustainable software ecosystem to provide the best possible user experience worldwide."
Google makes a statement
Meanwhile, Google has made it clear via Twitter that this restriction does not affect existing Huawei devices. The Play Store and Google Play Play Protect will continue to work on these smartphones.
For Huawei users' questions regarding our steps to comply w/ the recent US government actions: 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.— Android (@Android) May 20, 2019
Qualcomm, Intel and more follow Google
Yesterday evening, the news that Google had ended trade relations with Huawei caused a stir. It has now become known that other large US companies are also planning to cut ties with the Chinese manufacturer.
Chip manufacturers such as Intel, Qualcomm, Xilinx and Broadcom are said to have already informed employees internally that Huawei will not be supplied for the time being, according to company sources. This further marginalizes the world's largest provider of network hardware and the second largest smartphone provider after it was blacklisted by the Trump administration on Friday.
Qualcomm provides Huawei with processors and modems for its smartphones, whilst Intel is its main supplier of server chips. Xilinx sells programmable network chips and Broadcom is a supplier of switching chips. Many of components are also important for the expansion of the 5G network. Representatives of the chip manufacturers, however, have so far rejected a statement.
This not only disrupts the business of American chip giants, but also delays the introduction of the 5G mobile communications network worldwide, including in China. The move is likely to have serious consequences not only for Huawei itself, but also for the global semiconductor industry, which depends on the world's second-largest economy.
How long will Huawei's reserves last?
In preparation for the current suspension of trade relations, Huawei is supposed to have been stockpiling chips and other important components since mid-2018, at the same time design its own chips. However, this stock is only supposed to last a maximum of three months. The Huawei leadership, however, assumes that this will be sufficient to resume trade relations with the USA in the necessary areas.
How do you say we settle this trade war? Let us know in the comments.