US Internet giant Google, whose Android mobile operating system powers most of the world’s smartphones, said Sunday it was beginning to cut ties with China’s Huawei, which Washington considers a national security threat.
In the midst of a trade war with Beijing, President Donald Trump has barred US companies from engaging in telecommunications trade with foreign companies said to threaten American national security.
The measure targets Huawei, a Chinese telecoms giant in Washington’s sights that is listed by the Commerce Department among firms with which American companies can only engage in trade after obtaining the green light from the authorities.
In Manila, PLDT Inc. assured its subscribers that their Huawei handsets would continue to function normally despite the recent trade ban of the United States government on Huawei products.
The ban includes technology sharing.
“We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications,” a Google spokesperson said.
The move could have dramatic implications since Google, like all tech companies, must collaborate with smart phone makers to ensure its systems are compatible with their devices.
Google will have to halt business activities with Huawei that involve transfer of hardware, software and technical services that are not publicly available—meaning Huawei will only be able to use the open source version of Android, a source close to the matter told the Agence France-Presse.
Huawei will no longer have access to Google’s proprietary apps and services, such as the Gmail e-mail service.
Huawei did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Huawei is a rapidly expanding leader in 5G technology but remains dependent on foreign suppliers.
It buys about $67 billion worth of components each year, including about $11 billion from US suppliers, according to The Nikkei business daily.
Huawei is the target of an intense campaign by Washington, which has been trying to persuade allies not to allow China a role in building next-generation 5G mobile networks.
US government agencies are already banned from buying equipment from Huawei.
Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei said Saturday that “We have not done anything which violates the law,” adding the US measures would have a limited impact.
“PLDT and Smart will work closely with Huawei in addressing concerns regarding future firmware and software updates for phones, pocket Wi-Fi units, and other devices,” the company said in a statement.
The US Department of Commerce last week barred Huawei from the US market and included it to a list which would restrict US sales to the Chinese company due to an escalating trade war with Beijing.
In a statement, Huawei said it “is against the decision made by the Bureau of Industry and Security of the US Department of Commerce.”
“This decision is in no one’s interest. It will do significant economic harm to the American companies with which Huawei does business, affect tens of thousands of American jobs and disrupt the current collaboration and mutual trust that exist on the global chain,” Huawei said.
“Huawei will seek remedies immediately and find a resolution to this matter. We will also proactively endeavor to mitigate the impact of this incident,” it added.
Huwaei was PLDT’s partner in rolling out 5G services in the country.
Under the agreement, PLDT and Smart will work with Huawei to shape the strategic and commercial development of the 5G ecosystem in the Philippines.
PLDT also tapped Huawei to transform its wireless service delivery platforms at a cost of $28.5 million, or about P1.4 billion. With AFP
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