Google has just suspended Huawei’s Android license. Effectively keeping Huawei from using most parts of Android, only those that are covered by open source licenses will be able to be used in its future smartphones.
This move means that Huawei will immediately lose access to the Android operating system as consumers in the West know it. In other words, starting with its next round of smartphones, it will lose access to Google apps. Considering Google’s apps are what really make Android what it is today, that is a pretty big deal.
Obviously, this isn’t going to affect those smartphones that are sold in China, since they don’t have Google services right now anyways. But it means that they won’t be getting help from Google, when it comes time to update to Android Q or later. And a lot of the features that Google has included, that isn’t in AOSP, Huawei won’t be getting access too.
What specific services that will be removed from Huawei’s smartphones, have not been finalized yet. Google is still talking about that, internally. At least according to someone familiar with the matter (who spoke with Reuters).
We have reached out to Huawei for comment, but so far, we haven’t heard back.
This continues the US government’s attempt to blacklist Huawei around the world. Last week, the US Commerce Department, essentially put Huawei on a trade blacklist. That makes it almost impossible for Huawei to do any business with the US. Now, adding this fuel from Google to fire, is making Huawei’s job even tougher in the US. The company has already announced a lawsuit against the US government and the Canadian government.
Huawei has had trouble in the US for quite a few years, dating back to the beginning of Obama’s first term as President. It wasn’t a big deal back then, as Huawei wasn’t really trying to break into the US. But many feared that the Chinese government was using Huawei products to spy on people. That’s something that the US government doesn’t like – it wants to be the only one spying on Americans. Of course, Huawei stealing intellectual property from T-Mobile many years ago, definitely did not help its case.
Under the Trump Administration, Huawei had been all but kicked out of the US, and with the latest executive order that Trump signed on Thursday, they are basically out of the US now. This administration was not only looking to get Huawei out of the US, but also getting them out of other countries around the world. In the T-Mobile/Sprint merger deal, the Justice Department was attempting to get the two company’s parent companies to stop using Huawei equipment in Germany and Japan, respectively.
It’s unclear what kind of revenge the Trump Administration is seeking by going after Huawei this hard, but one thing is for sure, less competition is not a good thing.
Huawei will still have access to the open-source Android build, but that is pretty limited. On top of that, Google will not be providing technical support to Huawei to get things up and running. That is a major blow to the Chinese tech giant. But Huawei likely knew this was coming at some point and has been working on its own replacement for Android for a few years. Now might be the time that we see the fruit of that labor.