Did The US Just Grant Intel A License To Sell Chips To Huawei?

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Intel has a US government-granted license to sell chipsets to Huawei, according to new reports. The reports, stemming from China, indicate that the news was confirmed by Intel on September 21.

Reports haven't indicated the extent of the license. So, as of this writing, it's not clear when the cut-off will be. Or exactly when Huawei will release devices built on the chips.

How will the Intel license and chips be used by Huawei?

If accurate, Intel may actually be the second such company to gain a license from the US government. AMD was also granted a license to continue working with companies on the US Entity list. That's a list of companies that have been banned from interaction with US companies or companies using US parts. And companies that cannot operate in the US either. In each case, due to ongoing concerns said to center around national security.

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Huawei is on that Entity list and that's been impacting its global presence, but it isn't immediately clear whether AMD will work with Huawei either. None of its partners have been revealed.

In either case, this license deal from the US for Intel could really only mean one thing for Huawei. And, as noted by the source, that's laptops.

Now, Huawei only recently launched its most powerful laptop to date, the Huawei MateBook X. The announcement may, in fact, have given away Intel's agreement with the US government in advance. That device is powered by 10th-Gen Intel Core i5 and Core i7 chips.

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Conversely, AMD and Intel may be utilized for future devices, depending on the length of the license agreement.

Intel isn't in the business of making mobile phone chips though, so Huawei will likely need to look elsewhere for that. Neither is AMD. Although, as already noted, there's no confirmation that AMD is involved with Huawei at all.

What does this mean for US buyers?

For now, there's no indication whether or not Huawei's future laptops, built on Intel processors, will be able to run Windows. Microsoft would also need to obtain a license from the government for that to happen. And that doesn't leave the company with many options. But it is entirely possible that Huawei plans to bring its Harmony OS to larger, non-smartphone platforms.

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Harmony OS is an open-source, free, microkernel-based operating system Huawei revealed back in 2019 as a potential replacement for Android — since Google is also disallowed from working with Huawei.