- The Asahi Shimbun/The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images
- The US government blacklisted Huawei last month.
- Major US companies like Google, Qualcomm, and Intel were quick to sever business ties with the company to comply with the order. Now Facebook has joined the party.
- Firms outside the US have also decided to cut ties with Huawei, including in the UK and Japan.
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Since the US government blacklisted the Chinese tech giant Huawei last month, a slew of companies have cut ties with the firm.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order last month declaring a national emergency that allowed Huawei to be designated as a national security risk, leading the Department of Commerce to place the firm on an “entity list.” This means US firms have to seek government permission before doing business with Huawei.
Big US firms were quick to respond to the order, though Huawei subsequently received a three-month grace period to get its house in order before the blacklisting fully kicks in. It isn’t just American companies that are cutting ties, however.
Here is a rundown of the biggest firms that are severing business relations with Huawei.
- JOSH EDELSON/Getty
Shortly after Huawei was blacklisted by the US government, Google announced that it was revoking the company’s access to its Android service. Bloomberg reported that Google had cut off supply to hardware as well as software.
The news was a huge blow to Huawei, as all of its phones a run on Google’s Android operating system. It means millions of Huawei customers could lose access to security updates and suffer other disruption.
After the Department of Commerce granted Huawei a 90-day reprieve before the ban fully kicks in, Google said it had put its Android suspension on hold. But at the moment, this is simply delaying the inevitable.
Huawei has been working on building its own operating system as a “plan B” for years, and though little is known about it, an executive told CNBC it could be ready for China by this fall and for the rest of the world in the first or second quarter of 2020.
The Financial Times reported that Google executives have been lobbying the Department of Commerce to gain either a second temporary license or a permanent exemption from the ban. Their argument is that if Huawei were forced to deploy its own hybrid version of Android it would be more likely to contain bugs and therefore be more vulnerable to attack – posing a national security risk.
Reuters reported in June that Facebook banned Huawei from pre-installing any Facebook apps – which include WhatsApp and Instagram – on its phones.
A source told Reuters that the new ban had taken immediate effect on any Huawei phones that had not yet left the warehouse, although Facebook declined to comment on when the ban actually took effect.
Facebook said its decision doesn’t have any effect on current Huawei owners, who will still be able to use and update their apps. New Huawei customers will be able to download Facebook-owned apps from the Google Play Store as well, so the company isn’t fully cut off.
However, with Huawei’s future relationship with Google looking uncertain, it’s hard to know whether Huawei will retain access to the Play Store, at which point customers would have no access to Facebook apps.
- Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Key US chipmaking companies such as Qualcomm were quick to act. Three days after Huawei was blacklisted, Bloomberg reported that Qualcomm had told its employees it wouldn’t be supplying Huawei until further notice.
Intel was another big name on the list of American chipmakers to cut Huawei off, though according to Bloomberg, Huawei has stockpiled at least three months’ worth of chips and other components in anticipation of a ban.
Lumentum, the US maker of mobile-phone parts, also announced it had stopped shipping parts to Huawei, which it said made up 18% of its total revenue in its latest quarter.
- REUTERS/Toru Hanai
The Japanese tech behemoth Panasonic on Thursday announced it had cut ties with Huawei. “We’ve stopped all business transactions with Huawei and its 68 group companies … that are subject to the US government ban,” a spokesman told The Guardian.
- REUTERS/Issei Kato
The UK chip designer Arm issued a memo to employees telling them to stop “all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements” with Huawei, the BBC reports. The memo said its designs contained “US-origin technology.”
Arm licenses its technology rather than manufacturing chips itself. The Economist’s Hal Hodson pointed out on Twitter that companies typically buy up licenses from Arm several years in advance, meaning it’s possible that Huawei has two to three years’ worth of licenses stored up.
The UK’s largest mobile carrier, Vodafone, on Wednesday announced it was dropping Huawei handsets from its 5G launch, which is due July 3.
“We are pausing preorders for the Huawei Mate 20 X (5G) in the UK,” a spokesman told The Guardian. “This is a temporary measure while uncertainty exists regarding new Huawei 5G devices. We will keep this situation under review.”
The British mobile carrier EE joined Vodafone in excluding Huawei from its 5G plans, which are due to launch May 30.
EE told The Guardian it took the decision to can Huawei’s 5G phones following Google’s withdrawal of Android.
Telefonica and Three: under review
Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica, which owns UK mobile network operator O2, said it is “reviewing the details of the executive order to understand any potential implications for our customers,” Reuters reported.
British mobile network operator Three is also reviewing its relationship with Huawei ahead of its 5G launch. “We are currently considering what all the implications are. We will evaluate what impact this has on the customer, both short and long term, and act accordingly,” a Three spokesman told the Telegraph.
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Microsoft was slower to release an official statement on its relationship with the company, although Huawei’s MateBook laptops disappeared from Microsoft’s online store the weekend after Trump’s executive order.
The laptops re-appeared on Microsofts’s store in June, and the company then confirmed that it will be selling off the remainder of the Huawei laptops it has in stock. Once any Huawei model runs out, it won’t be offered again unless the conditions of Trump’s ban change.
A Microsoft spokesperson told Business Insider Huawei devices will still receive software updates.