Huawei may be about to feel the sting from the Trump administration’s move to block U.S. companies from doing business with the Chinese electronics giant. Reuters today (May 19) reports that Google is suspending any business with Huawei that involves the transfer of hardware or software not covered by open-source licenses.
Huawei’s P30 Pro (Credit: Tom’s Guide)That’s not going to impact Huawei’s ability to use the Android operating system on its phone, as that’s part of an open source license. But Reuters reports that Huawei won’t be able to access updates to Android for its current phones. Future phones would lose access to the Google Play store as well as apps like Gmail, according to Reuters.
Google’s reported move comes in the wake of an executive order from President Donald Trump barring U.S. companies from using telecommunications equipment supplied by any company the government considers a threat to U.S. security. At the same time, the U.S. Commerce Department added Huawei to the Bureau of Industry and Securities Entity List, which requires U.S. companies to get the government’s permission to sell or transfer technology to Huawei.
Losing access to Google’s products would be a big blow for Huawei, which has passed Apple to become the world’s second largest maker of smartphones. Huawei’s pulled off that growth despite the fact that it’s largely ignored the U.S. market, where carriers have declined to sell its phones, reportedly under pressure from the federal government. The last Huawei phone to officially launch in the U.S. was the Mate 10 Pro in early 2018, though the more recent Huawei P30 Pro is available unlocked from some U.S. retailers if you buy the Latin American version of the phone.
While Huawei has enjoyed strong sales in other parts of the world, that’s potentially threatened if its phones won’t have access to future Android updates or if future devices won’t be able to access Google Play.
Based on the Reuters report, it sounds like specific details of what’s affected by any suspension of business with Huawei is still being determined at Google. We’ve reached out to Huawei and Google for comment and will update the story if we hear back.