Monday, May 20th 2019

U.S. Tech Industry, Including Google, Microsoft, Intel, and Qualcomm, Ban Huawei

The United States tech industry has overnight dealt a potentially fatal blow to Chinese electronics giant Huawei, by boycotting the company. The companies are establishing compliance with a recent Executive Order passed by President Donald Trump designed to "stop the import, sale, and use of equipment and services by foreign companies based in countries that are potential adversaries to U.S. interests," particularly information technology security. Google has announced that it will no longer allow Huawei to license Android, and will stop updates and Google Play access to Huawei smartphones. Huawei can still equip its phones with open-source Android, but it cannot use Google's proprietary software, including Google Play Store, Chrome, and all the other Google apps. Intel decided to no longer supply processors and other hardware to Huawei, for use in its laptops and server products. Sales of AMD processors will stop, too. Qualcomm-Broadcom have decided to stop supply of mobile SoCs and network PHYs, respectively. Microsoft decided to stop licensing Huawei to use Windows and Office products.

The ban is a consequence of the U.S. Government placing Huawei on a list of banned entities, forcing all U.S. companies to abandon all trade with it, without prior approval from the Department of Commerce. Trade cuts both ways, and not only are U.S. firms banned from buying from Huawei, they're also banned from selling to it. Huawei "buys from" over 30 U.S. companies, (for example, Windows licenses from Microsoft). CNN reports that U.S. firms could lose up to $11 billion in revenues.
Huawei's origins trace back to its founder Ren Zhengfei, who started out his tech career as part of the People's Liberation Army Information Technology R&D department, and is accused by his detractors of remaining loyal to the Chinese state in a manner that compromises security of its Western customers. Huawei was poised to become the world's #1 smartphone vendor in terms of sales.

President Trump as part of the Executive Order, writes "I further find that the unrestricted acquisition or use in the United States of information and communications technology or services designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of foreign adversaries augments the ability of foreign adversaries to create and exploit vulnerabilities in information and communications technology or services, with potentially catastrophic effects, and thereby constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States."

The definition of an adversarial entity is open to interpretation, and Huawei may not be the only foreign company that qualifies as one. Since trading opened Monday morning in Asian markets, stock prices of listed Chinese tech firm ZTE fell 10 percent. Huawei is a private company. Across the pond, European governments remain neutral to Huawei. The UK and European Commission have separately conducted investigations into allegations of Huawei posing a data-security risk, and have both concluded to have seen no merit to the accusations. The EU is Huawei's largest market for smartphones outside China, and an abrupt stoppage of Google services impacting functionality of Huawei smartphones in the EU exposes Google to EU anti-trust regulators who have already penalized the company hundreds of millions of Euros in the past for abusing its market dominance.

To date, the Trump administration has not put out specific evidence against Huawei in a U.S. court of law, or the public domain. Washington Post in a May 19 editorial highlights this lack of transparency. "Neither the United States nor any of its allies has produced a 'smoking gun' proving that Chinese intelligence uses Huawei technology to penetrate other countries' networks. Under the circumstances, it is legitimate for the United States to seek greater transparency from Huawei, both about its ownership and its strategic objectives in the global market," it reads. WaPo further goes on to comment that the exclusion of Huawei will impact the deployment of 5G telecommunication technology around the world, enabling driverless cars, telemedicine, next-generation unmanned mechanized warfare, and the Internet of Things.

Huawei declined to comment on the development, but has mitigations for this ban. Android has been significantly forked by Chinese smartphone vendors with open-source software, and Huawei could do something similar. The company already uses its own apps, games, and content marketplace rivaling Google Play; and almost all Google apps have alternatives in China. The company makes its own SoCs and doesn't rely on Qualcomm. The Chinese government already does not use Windows, and this development could help in the proliferation of Linux distributions. A decline in the sales and use of Microsoft Windows could be China's retaliatory move. The country has already taken tectonic market access-denial actions against U.S. firms such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter, and nothing stops it from censoring Microsoft. Intel processors continue to form the backbone of client-computing, but it's only a matter of time before Chinese firms mass-produce x86 processors of their own.

Update May 20th: Facing regulatory backlash from Huawei devices abruptly losing functionality from loss of Google Play services, Google has in a statement to Reuters confirmed that Google Play app updates and validation services will continue to be offered to existing users of Huawei devices. "For users of our services, Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices," the spokesperson said, without giving further details.

Update May 21st: Goldman Sachs has done some math, looking into how revenue of U.S. companies will be affected by the loss of their customer Huawei. Quite interesting numbers, and surprising how much it affects AMD.

Update May 21st: The US Department of Commerce has granted Huwei an extension of 90 days to get their affairs in order, to minimize the impact on Huawei's customers.

Update May 23rd: ARM, the company behind the IP required to build ARM-architecture-based microprocessors (which are used in most of Huawei's products), has now stopped working with Huawei, too. Sources: BBC, The Verge, Android Authority
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146 Comments on U.S. Tech Industry, Including Google, Microsoft, Intel, and Qualcomm, Ban Huawei

#1
Valantar
Does this mean that existing Huawei devices will be banned from the Play Store? Or does it only affect future models? 'Cause if it's the former, this is an extremely hostile action towards the millions of people globally who have bought Huawei phones believing in good faith that they were and would continue to be "Android phones". Of course Play Store access and GApps can be sideloaded on most devices, but ... yeah, that's not your average Huawei user.
Posted on Reply
#2
csgabe
It affects only future models. The Android updates part affects existing devices too.
How about AMD, don't they have to ban them too?
Posted on Reply
#3
ZoneDymo
Valantar said:

Does this mean that existing Huawei devices will be banned from the Play Store? Or does it only affect future models? 'Cause if it's the former, this is an extremely hostile action towards the millions of people globally who have bought Huawei phones believing in good faith that they were and would continue to be "Android phones". Of course Play Store access and GApps can be sideloaded on most devices, but ... yeah, that's not your average Huawei user.
"Google has announced that it will no longer allow Huawei to license Android, and will stop updates and Google Play access to Huawei smartphones. "

I mean, clearly that is about current models.

csgabe said:

It affects only future models. The Android updates part affects existing devices too.
How about AMD, don't they have to ban them too?
Sure, if AMD made anything for a Huawei phone it goes for them as well.
Posted on Reply
#4
Chomiq
To think few days ago I was checking out their phones. I guess Trump had to bring out the big guns for his negotiations.

Ps.
Lovely TNG reference there.
Posted on Reply
#5
Valantar
Chomiq said:

To think few days ago I was checking out their phones. I guess Trump had to bring out the big guns for his negotiations.

Ps.
Lovely TNG reference there.
Apparently it doesn't affect "already sold" devices, whatever that means. Is this bound to IMEIs that have already been activated with the Play Store, or does this mean that a factory reset will essentially brick your device? Or will any devices already distributed to retailers and online stores be okay? If not: way to screw over stores too. So much for "supporting business", leaving them with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of unsellable stock. Great idea.
Posted on Reply
#6
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Valantar said:
Does this mean that existing Huawei devices will be banned from the Play Store?
https://techcrunch.com/2019/05/19/google-says-its-app-store-will-continue-to-work-for-existing-huawei-smartphone-owners/
Valantar said:

Apparently it doesn't affect "already sold" devices, whatever that means. Is this bound to IMEIs that have already been activated with the Play Store, or does this mean that a factory reset will essentially brick your device? Or will any devices already distributed to retailers and online stores be okay? If not: way to screw over stores too. So much for "supporting business", leaving them with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of unsellable stock. Great idea.
It sounds to me like Huawei can't install Google Services on future phones. Phones that already have it are unaffected.
Posted on Reply
#7
tigger
I'm the only one
Wow the pitch forks and yokels are out in America. Considering Huawei buys $67 billion in components, it's pretty dumb. They will just save the money and develop their own.
Posted on Reply
#8
R-T-B
tigger said:

Wow the pitch forks and yokels are out in America
Pilgrims started it. I always blame the pilgrims.

Anyhow, this is more than just America, but it certainly is weird on several levels. I'm cautiously saying it could be true though, on the other hand. I'm just not seeing this level if cooperation over nothing but I also have yet to see evidence.
Posted on Reply
#9
R0H1T
csgabe said:

How about AMD, don't they have to ban them too?
Probably doesn't apply to their "Dhyana" JV chips atm. And if CCP is determined enough, consider Zen based clones popping up in China eventually :shadedshu:
ZoneDymo said:

Sure, if AMD made anything for a Huawei phone it goes for them as well.
This covers everything, with Intel I assume it also covers their server chips?
Posted on Reply
#10
Valantar
FordGT90Concept said:

https://techcrunch.com/2019/05/19/google-says-its-app-store-will-continue-to-work-for-existing-huawei-smartphone-owners/

It sounds to me like Huawei can't install Google Services on future phones. Phones that already have it are unaffected.
The problem is how you define "future". Future models? Anything coming off the production line after date X? Anything shipped after date X? Anything passing US customs after date X? Anything sold after date X? The wording is vague and can mean many different things. My list goes from most to least "fair" (as in increasing collateral damage), but also from least to most enforceable. After all, Huawei doesn't "install" apps on their phones, they flash a ROM containing the apps onto an unactivated phone, which isn't likely to be switched on at all until the end user has it in hand, meaning it's incredibly hard to enforce a limit based on production date (as it's essentially unknown and easily faked). If the current tactics of the trade war are anything to go by, the US government favors enforceability over minimizing collateral damage.
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#11
Jozsef Dornyei
This is a strong step kicking Huawei. Might even bankrupt them.
Strategically this is a very bad move.
Chinese companies will not buy US technology parts and software as soon as they can develop anything what works instead.
As China is the largest economy on the planet this move will kick US tech companies from China and all Chinese product.
In 10 years time the US tech industry will be a shadow of todays strength.
Posted on Reply
#12
Valantar
R0H1T said:

Probably doesn't apply to their "Dhyana" JV chips atm. And if CCP is determined enough, consider Zen based clones popping up in China eventually :shadedshu:
This covers everything, with Intel I assume it also covers their server chips?
This is about Huawei specifically, not China. Huawei makes an AMD-based Matebook. One would assume this would affect that too, yes. As for AMD's IP collaboration? Unlikely, as that would require either the US government specifically banning AMD from doing business with Chinese entities or a general ban of US-China business relations, neither of which are likely to happen.
Posted on Reply
#13
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Valantar said:

The problem is how you define "future". Future models? Anything coming off the production line after date X? Anything shipped after date X? Anything passing US customs after date X? Anything sold after date X? The wording is vague and can mean many different things. My list goes from most to least "fair" (as in increasing collateral damage), but also from least to most enforceable. After all, Huawei doesn't "install" apps on their phones, they flash a ROM containing the apps onto an unactivated phone, which isn't likely to be switched on at all until the end user has it in hand, meaning it's incredibly hard to enforce a limit based on production date (as it's essentially unknown and easily faked). If the current tactics of the trade war are anything to go by, the US government favors enforceability over minimizing collateral damage.
Just don't buy Huawei and forget about it. :P

Jozsef Dornyei said:
Chinese companies will not buy US technology parts and software as soon as they can develop anything what works instead.
As China is the largest economy on the planet this move will kick US tech companies from China and all Chinese product.
In 10 years time the US tech industry will be a shadow of todays strength.
Without wireless radios and an operating system, what do they have left to sell? Look at Cuba and their 60s cars...this is pretty much what's going to happen to Huawei phones: stuck in time. Yup, they'll be bankrupted. And Trump isn't going to leap to their rescue like he did with ZTE.

USA is the largest economy. USA tech companies generally don't have access to China other than to manufacture stuff (which they are doing much less of because of tariffs).
Posted on Reply
#14
lynx29
R-T-B said:

Pilgrims started it. I always blame the pilgrims.

Anyhow, this is more than just America, but it certainly is weird on several levels. I'm cautiously saying it could be true though, on the other hand. I'm just not seeing this level if cooperation over nothing but I also have yet to see evidence.
I think there is evidence of the CFO, daughter of the President, dealing with Iran when under contract not to do so. That is originally what led to a warrant for her arrest in Canada, I doubt Canadian police and Judges arrest people without evidence.
Posted on Reply
#15
R0H1T
Jozsef Dornyei said:

Chinese companies will not buy US technology parts and software as soon as they can develop anything what works instead.
As China is the largest economy on the planet this move will kick US tech companies from China and all Chinese product.
In 10 years time the US tech industry will be a shadow of todays strength.
They already have those, however tech leadership is still with the US, EU, SK & Japan in vast majority of areas. China has partially overcome this by buying tech startups & former conglomerates, IIRC Sharp is now owned by a Chinese firm?

They're not the largest, yet.

No, not happening. The US is still the world leader in innovation for the foreseeable future, you don't go from being a copycat to innovative/inventive in such a short time span.
Posted on Reply
#16
Valantar
I can't really see this leading to anything other than acceleration of China's already rapid nationalization of technology. Which, if there was any doubt, is purely a bad thing, as this will drive devices away from general-purpose computing, increase pressure on "Western" companies to work with the NSA and its peers, and generally make our personal devices even more of a battleground for international espionage and global politics. Isolationism hurts everyone.
Posted on Reply
#17
R0H1T
This isn't just a trade war, as Bannon put it ~ it's an eco(nomic) war, to ensure that either nation sits on top of the gravy train!
Posted on Reply
#18
R-T-B
Valantar said:

I can't really see this leading to anything other than acceleration of China's already rapid nationalization of technology. Which, if there was any doubt, is purely a bad thing, as this will drive devices away from general-purpose computing, increase pressure on "Western" companies to work with the NSA and its peers, and generally make our personal devices even more of a battleground for international espionage and global politics. Isolationism hurts everyone.
Sadly, I think you are spot on.
Posted on Reply
#19
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
lynx29 said:

I think there is evidence of the CFO, daughter of the President, dealing with Iran when under contract not to do so. That is originally what led to a warrant for her arrest in Canada, I doubt Canadian police and Judges arrest people without evidence.
Indeed, but it's not so simple...
1) 2012 security advisory put out about ZTE and Huewei.
2) 2015 ZTE violated Iran embargo, ZTE got banned. Huewei apparently evaded the embargo implying equipment reached Iran from Huawei but it isn't known how.
3) 2017 Trump worked out a settlement to revive ZTE.
4) 2018 Trump bans Huawei equipment from government use.
5) 2018 Huawei CFO jailed in Canada for questioning in relation to the 2015 Iran embargo.
6) 2019 Trump issues an executive order that bans transactions with Huawei on security concerns.

The security concerns date back to 2012. The fraud/Iran/CFO stuff dates back to 2015. Then there's the tariffs and the roll out of 5G.

I think the temperature rising because of the trade tensions is causing that 2012 security concern to be viewed as a weaponizable serious threat--a way China could harm the USA and its partners--so he issues this ban to forbid its use/deployment to harden the USA against the threat and remove it as a tool China can use.

The fact this ban happened less than a week after the trade talks fell apart is not merely coincidence.
Posted on Reply
#20
R-T-B
R0H1T said:

The US is still the world leader in innovation for the foreseeable future, you don't go from being a copycat to innovative/inventive in such a short time span.
Loongson suggests this has been in planning for quite some time. That, and China has been pounding us in supercomputers until recently.
Posted on Reply
#21
Valantar
R0H1T said:
No, not happening. The US is still the world leader in innovation for the foreseeable future, you don't go from being a copycat to innovative/inventive in such a short time span.
Innovation needs mainly one thing: education. The amount of people with higher educations in China has exploded in the past decades, far outstripping the US. They have no lack of innovative engineers and designers, and the support structures to give them the resources required for real innovation are being built rapidly (and to a large degree already in place). Do Chinese companies (still) copy US companies a lot? Sure! But they can no longer be blamed for being purely copycats - that was the 90s and early 2000s at best. Thinking a trade war like this will change anything in a meaningful fashion is rather naive. Before the rise of the internet, advanced technical knowledge was closely guarded and mostly kept at western institutions of higher education. Today, it's widely disseminated, some of the world's best technical colleges are in China, and the only advantage "the West" has over China is patents and a longer history of innovation. That won't do much.
Posted on Reply
#22
R0H1T
Valantar said:

Innovation needs mainly one thing: education.
No, innovation today needs money & experience/track record just as much as anything else. Take Intel, AMD, IBM for instance. There is no other uarch or processor comparable to their most powerful chips, no amount of education will get you past that. Now even if you come up with such a hypothetical design will it still beat Intel @5nm when that other chip is being built on 14nm? Same goes for QC & their wireless solutions. At this point China's best bet is ARM & Huawei is betting big on that. This is also why mega corporations are virtual monopolies & indeed a bad thing, tangentially speaking.
Posted on Reply
#23
Vayra86
This is one of those events that remind us (and should remind you all) that we're living in a world of conflicting interests. Is this (also) about being on top of the food chain? Of course. The question you need to be asking yourself, is do you want to eat or be eaten. And entirely unrelated to your personal opinion, by living in a Western country, you're part of it and yes you will be on 'a side' of these conflicts.

Huawei was becoming far too influential for our own good and the 5G rollout was going to be a major vehicle for China to deploy mass surveillance outside of its own borders. Even the slightest chance of that happening should be a massive warning sign, and I'm glad to see it was, already over six years ago.

We can start worrying about our economy and innovation leadership and diplomacy after that. Make no mistake: China plays the game just like this and now experiences a major setback in their power creep.


Just a side note; this might even be bigger than just China. This might even be mostly about the US and geopolitical influence as a whole. The recent fleet movements towards Iran, the timing of these things is never coincidental, and already you can see this is a timing strategy that maximizes the impact and psychological effect. For Huawei, not only were they about to make the biggest deal in history, they were also the top smartphone company. If they'd been shot down three years earlier, the damage would've been minimal. But, we waited patiently for the opponent to yell 'All in!' to slam the door in its face.

Another important side note: Trump's term is coming to an end soon, and what better way than conflict to reinforce faith in your current POTUS.

Add all of those aspects up and you can see why the timing of this is so, so convenient.
Posted on Reply
#24
Vya Domus
No matter what the arguments are I can't help but think that this was done with the exclusive intention of driving Huawei out of business for the benefit of some of them competitors. After all they have seen one of the most rapid growths in the last 2-3 years that no one else could match, that must have annoyed one or two companies. Shitty anti-competitive practices are all alive and well it seems.
Posted on Reply
#25
Vayra86
Vya Domus said:

No matter what the arguments are I can't help but think that this was done with the exclusive intention of driving Huawei out of business for the benefit of some of them competitors. After all they have seen one of the most rapid growths in the last 2-3 years that no one else could match, that must have annoyed one or two companies. Shitty anti-competitive practices are all alive and well it seems.
That's just collateral really. Consider it bonus. We don't benefit a whole lot from Huawei apart from perhaps a little discount on a phone.
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