Huawei‘s problems in the US have just got considerably worse. Google has cut off the Chinese phonemaker’s Android license, dealing a significant blow to its global business. The company “immediately” loses license for integrating Google’s software and core apps into any of its future products. However, since Android is an open-source operating system, Huawei can still use the public version of Android called Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Also, Google will continue offering security and app updates to existing Huawei devices.
Huawei loses Google apps and future OS updates
In a recent decision, the US Commerce Department placed Huawei on the “Entity List,” which reportedly is “a list of companies that are unable to buy technology from US companies without government approval”. Complying with the order, Google has suspended its business with Huawei. The company loses access to future OS updates beyond the AOSP with immediate effect. The ban also cuts the company off from critical Google apps and services, including Gmail, Chrome, and the Google Play Store, which is the main source of Android apps for users outside of China.
Huawei has been under scrutiny from the US Government for a long time. The Chinese company is suspected to have a backdoor for the Chinese Government. While it has been somewhat able to shrug off those allegations despite several attempts by the US, the latest one poses a grave risk to the future of its core mobile business. It is pertinent to mention here that the new US blacklisting also bars Huawei from doing businesses with other US companies, such as Qualcomm and Intel.
Huawei was already preparing its own mobile OS for a situation like this. However, it’d be very difficult for a new OS to survive now, as we’ve just seen with Samsung’s Tizen. Also, a Chinese OS is likely to face even more scrutiny, and people may not readily accept it either. The future of Huawei’s mobile business outside its home territory looks grim.