Google, Qualcomm and others cease partnerships with Huawei

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Huawei P20 Pro
It’s just a backup plan for now.
Photo: Huawei

Google has suspended its business with Huawei and revoked its Android license following a U.S. crackdown on Chinese technology companies.

It’s a massive blow for the world’s third-biggest smartphone-maker — and it’s not the only one it received this weekend. Intel, Qualcomm, and other chip manufacturers have also halted their partnerships with the company.

Huawei has quickly become one of the biggest names in the smartphone industry thanks to a string of impressive devices. That should be a good thing, but it seems it’s all about to come crashing down.

Google, Intel, Qualcomm, and other big American companies have all ceased trading with Huawei in line with a government ban.

Things don’t look good for Huawei

In case you hadn’t heard, the U.S. Commerce Department last week placed Huawei and 70 affiliates on its so-called “Entity List.” This prevents the company from buying components from U.S. companies without government approval.

Huawei insisted the move would raise “serious legal issues,” and that it would “only serve to limit the U.S. to inferior yet more expensive alternatives, leaving the U.S. lagging behind in 5G deployment.”

But that hasn’t stopped several big American technology companies from taking quick action.

Google drops Huawei first

Google kicked off the crackdown on Sunday when it dramatically cut off Huawei’s license to Android. This forces the company to use an open-source version of the software and means it won’t get early access to Android updates.

“We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications,” a Google spokesperson said.

Existing Huawei devices will still have access to the Google Play Store and the security protections offered by Play Protect. But future updates for these devices as well as any new Huawei protects looks uncertain.

It’s not completely clear at this time what this means for existing Huawei handsets and upcoming products. But what is clear is that it just got a whole lot harder for Huawei to make Android devices.

And it’s not just Google that has left Huawei out in the cold.

Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom follow suit

Intel, Qualcomm, and Broadcom — three of the world’s biggest chip designers — have followed Google’s lead in halting their partnerships with Huawei. Memory chip makers Micron Technology and Western Digital have done the same.

Bloomberg reports that employees have been informed that, effective immediately, their companies will freeze their supply deals with Huawei until further notice.

Microsoft is still supplying Huawei with the Windows operating system for now, but it is expected to respect the U.S. governments new orders imminently.

What next for Huawei?

Huawei has, in many ways, been preparing for this day. It already designs and manufactures its own smartphone chips and has been developing its own alternatives to Android and Windows.

What’s more, Huawei has been stockpiling chips from U.S. suppliers for some time, and those supplies are expected to last at least three months. That’s enough time for the situation to play out and Huawei knows where it stands.

If things don’t change soon, however, it’s bad news not only for Huawei’s smartphone business, but also its notebooks and other products. Even if it finds ways to avoid U.S. components, it will be incredibly difficult to compete.

BlackBerry, Firefox, Palm, and even Microsoft have tried and failed to compete with Android. If your smartphone doesn’t run Android or iOS, consumers just aren’t interested.