Published On: Thu, May 30th, 2019

Google Abandoning Huawei

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On Monday Alphabet Inc.’s Google announced that they were complying with the orders from US President Donald Trump and decided to stop supplying services and updates for Android phones to Chinese manufactured, Huawei phones. Google is with this announcement suspending any business with Huawei which includes the transfer of hardware, software and technical services, except those available via open source licensing.

The reason for this decision is based on the US Government’s aim to blacklist the Chinese technology manufacturer. This is based on concerns of the US government regarding spying from China amid a trade war between these two world-trade giants. Furthermore, the Trump administration then also added Huawei Technologies Co Ltd to a trade blacklist, shortly after the announcement. Restrictions were made active with immediate effect, making it almost impossible for this Chinese tech giant to do business not only with the US but also with any of its counterparts.

The impact of this decision can be detrimental to the Chinese electronics manufacturer, which only recently moved into number two as smartphone vendor worldwide. Chasing Samsung, currently the world’s number one. Google confirmed that they would no longer supply Android apps to buyers of new Huawei phones. This would entail that Huawei users won’t be able to access Google Maps or Playstore on their phones, and they also won’t be able to play Youtube. Also, Gmail will no longer be available on new Huawei devices. This is a massive blow to the sales of this popular phone since it is these applications which give smartphones a competitive edge, especially in the European market.

This decision is also affecting the manufacturing side since due to the announcement, chip manufacturers including Intel Corp, Qualcomm Inc. and Broadcom Inc. will no longer be supplying the critical software and components to Huawei until they receive further notice. According to a Huawei spokesperson, they have been developing their technology as a contingency plan assuming the scenario of being blocked from Android will happen. This technology is already in use in some products in China. Since most Google apps are already banned in China, the effect of this decision would be minimal for the Chinese market and business will continue as usual.

According to a Google spokesperson, Google Play and Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices. But it seems that it will be the end user who will be paying the price at the end of the day. Due to the affordability of Huawei phones, sales are quite high, especially in emerging economies, like Kenya and South Africa. Deals on Huawei phones which used to be slow in India has also recently been gaining market share.

Even though it would be a risky decision to purchase a new Huawei smartphone at the moment, it seems that if you are already in possession of one, your Android services will continue for now. Google Play Store will still be able to download updates for your apps like Gmail until advised otherwise.

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