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Huawei vs the US Govt: is this a knock-out blow?

Paul Brislen, Editor. 21 May 2019, 7:06 am

Huawei's problems with the US administration have turned from bad to worse following the US President's decision to sign an executive order banning the use of telecommunications equipment from Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE Corporation in the US.

Google has immediately suspended Huawei from accessing the Google Play store and suspended its licence to use the Android operating system for all future devices. Current devices will continue to work but will no longer receive operating system or security updates.

Huawei will have access to Google's open source version of Android, but the US-based company has been reducing the feature set available as open source over the past few months.

Huawei was Google's second largest seller of mobile devices, but was expected to overtake Samsung as number one some time this year. With nearly half a billion Huawei devices running Android the future for both companies hinges on how long the ban will last and whether Huawei will return to the fold in future or move to a new platform entirely.

This move may also have ramifications for both the wider 5G network rollout globally and also the fortunes of US-based tech companies in China - Apple in particular. If the Chinese government retaliates in kind it could spell trouble for the US handset maker which not only sells large numbers of iDevices into the Chinese market but also makes the vast bulk of its hardware fleet in Chinese factories.

Huawei invested US$15 billion in research and development in the 5G space last year alone, according to online market intelligence platform IPlytics, and leads the race in the number of 5G standard technical contributions by a company. Huawei holds the largest portfolio of patents in this area: 11,423 patents registered in 2018, followed by the other two big networks equipment makers, Ericsson with 10,351 and Nokia with 6,878.


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