Trump’s ban on Huawei could be a big win for Apple

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Huawei P20 Pro
Millions of phone buyers might prefer iPhone to the non-Android handsets Huawei will apparently be forced to offer.
Photo: Huawei

A decision by the Trump Administration forced Google to revoke Huawei’s Android license, and a respected analyst says that could cause millions of buyers around the world to get iPhones instead.

Last month, the U.S. Commerce Department 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. Google interpreted this to mean that it could no longer allow the Chinese company access to the Android operating system.

No Android, no sale

Huawei is the world’s second-largest phone maker, but TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts a drop in sales if the company can‘t use Android, possibly by as much as 10 million units a month. Some wireless carriers outside of China have already stopped offering its handsets.

“If Huawei smartphone shipments continue to decline in non-Chinese markets, Apple’s market share gain… is likely to offset its market share loss in the Chinese market,” said Kuo. “We expect that annual iPhone shipments could return to around 200 million units.”

Apple shipped 208.8 million units last year, but Kuo previously predicted that the 2019 total would be down between 188 million and 192 million, with a slowdown in sales in China playing a big part. He didn’t see iPhone shipments getting back up to near 200 million until 2020 with the release of the 5G iPhone. That’s now changed.

But Apple apparently won’t be the real winner of the Trump Administration’s sanctions on Huawei. “We think Samsung might be the primary beneficiary if Huawei loses market shares in the non-Chinese smartphone markets,” wrote Kuo. Many fans of Huawei’s Android handsets will be more interested in Samsung’s Android devices than in iOS models.

Huawei is developing its own operating system which might be based on Android. As this operating system is open source anyone can use it, but without a license Huawei’s version can‘t include the Android app store, or software like Google Maps.

Via CNBC