Last week the U.S. government blacklisted Huawei and accused it of aiding Beijing in espionage. The U.S. government barred American companies from selling to Huawei without a U.S. government license. As a result, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer and one of the most popular cellphone manufacturers, is cutting ties with Google. Months after Huawei announced that it has started developing its operations system and hinted that it might replace the Google-owned Android, Google has decided to fire back by enforcing the U.S. blacklist.
In a bold statement, Google fueled the ongoing USA-China trade war by announcing that the company has been forced to cease parts of its business partnership with Huawei and will stop licensing its Android mobile operating system to the Chinese tech company. The move was supposed to hurt Huawei’s cellphone business, but the Chinese tech giant took the news lightly. Immediately after Google’s announcement, Huawei replied that they are not even thinking of slowing down and will continue to develop a safe and sustainable software ecosystem. According to Chinese media, the company has already spent more than three years developing its OS platform – a system that will eventually replace Android as an OS in all future Huawei devices.
Google and Huawei’s new operating system
What will be Huawei’s next operating system? And did Google just kill Huawei’s dream of becoming the world’s top smartphone brand?
Google will allow Huawei devices to receive Android updates for the next three months. Around this time, it is expected for Huawei to roll out a new operating system. Some experts say that the new OS will have more than 25% market share on new phone sales within three years. According to multiple high-profile Chinese media sources, the new OS already has a name – it will be called HongMeng OS. The goal of the Chinese tech firm was to become the top smartphone brand by the end of next year. While the ban will undoubtedly slow down the market growth of Huawei, the Chinese manufacturer dream will most likely not be killed, but just slowed down.
Alphabet’s Google was not the only tech giant to enforce the U.S. ban – companies including world’s biggest chipmakers Intel, Qualcomm, and Broadcom, have announced that they will no longer be supplying Huawei until further notice. Huawei is the world’s second largest phone manufacturer and cutting ties with U.S. companies will undoubtedly hurt all involved parties – at the end of the day, no sales person wants to lose a big customer. Even though Huawei accepted the news relatively calm, the Chinese manufacturer will undoubtedly be negatively affected by the sanctions as it depends on many U.S. companies for components needed for Huawei’s 5G equipment.
The new 5G version of cellular mobile communications will be rolling out soon, and apart from the U.S., multiple other developed countries are actively prohibiting Huawei from the ability to deploy products in their territories. Over the last few years, Huawei has been blacklisted by several countries. Last year U.S. government agencies were banned from using equipment manufactured by the Chinese multinational technology conglomerate. A requirement in the Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress back in 2018, makes it practically illegal for government contractors and employees to use Huawei products. The U.S. government is concerned that Huawei, and ZTE, the fourth largest cell phone manufacturer in the U.S., are considered to be closely connected with the Chinese government. Soon after the U.S. passed the bill, Australia also enforced a ban over Huawei and ZTE, preventing them from providing 5G technology for the country’s wireless networks. New Zealand followed the example terminating their relationship with Huawei. Canada is likely to ban Huawei too, and are still holding Huawei’s CFO under house arrest. With this decision, only one country out of the Five Eye anglophone intelligence alliance remains in a relatively good relationship with the Chinese telecommunications manufacturer. However, this may soon change as UK’s prime minister Theresa May is currently under mounting pressure to the Chinese tech giant.