Following reports of Google pulling its mainstream Android license from Huawei and consequently denying its previously granted right to use its operating system in conjunction with key software solutions including the Play Store and Play Services (which the company all but confirmed), the Chinese firm said it's shocked with the development.
The Android ban was issued in response to an executive order signed by President Donald Trump last week which saw the head of the state forbid American companies from doing any sort of business with corporate entities blacklisted as national security threats in the cyberspace. It hence effectively crippled the entirety of Huawei's stateside operations, as slim as they were up until that point, preventing it from even symbolic moves in the United States such as making a small number of its devices available to American consumers unlocked via Amazon.
Despite everything that transpired so far, Huawei is adamant to continue providing its customers with regular Android security patches, a company spokesperson told Android Headlines. No other after-sales services it currently provides will be scrapped either, so e.g. if you've imported one of its phones into the United States, the local branch of the firm will still honor your warranty, even if that only means taking a faulty device off your hands and issuing you a replacement.
A license to kill (business)
While Huawei may now be left without a road to using Android for commercial purposes with key Google apps such as the Play Store, it's still able to continue using the operating system itself. Namely, Google licenses the core OS under the standard Apache 2.0 terms which Huawei hasn't broken in any way. Due to the very nature of open-source software, the rights originally granted by that license cannot be revoked with no violations of terms under which they were issued in the first place happening.
In other words, while Huawei is currently prevented from releasing new devices with Google Play Services and other software consumers in the West largely think of as inseparable from the OS itself, nothing is stopping it from doing what it's already doing in China where it's been prevented from utilizing the Play Store and related apps by a decree from the Beijing-based communist government – pumping out smartphones and tablets using locked down and heavily modified Android forks.
Whether someone in the West would actually buy such products and not return them immediately is another question altogether; one whose answer is probably a resounding "no."
In other words, while Huawei cannot be entirely prevented from legally using Android moving forward, the supporting cast of Google-made apps that's synonymous with the mobile experience in the U.S. and beyond is currently beyond its reach.
If that sounds familiar, it's basically the same thing that happened to ZTE last year. In fact, it's likely to happen to it again, this time putting its handset hopes out for good. Huawei is a different beast, though; one that appears to be far too mighty to fall due to some pesky laws. However, whether that means the firm will pull the trigger on its internal OS project or try to persuade Google to help it test legal waters in regards to last week's executive order remains to be seen.
For now, Google appears to be keen on toeing any line the U.S. government draws.