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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.

U.S. Hikes Tariffs on Electronics Imports from China by 2.5 Times

President Donald Trump Sunday announced a fresh round of import tariffs affecting $200 billion worth electronics goods from China, starting next Friday. President Trump in a Tweet said that his administration would raise import tariffs to a staggering 25 percent from the existing 10 percent, a 2.5 times change, a move that could increase prices of consumer-electronics and computer hardware by at least 14 percent unless retailers are willing to take a hit on their margins. Tech stocks took a beating to this news as Dow Jones Industrial index fell 1.5 percent, and Nikkei shrunk 0.2 percent.

In the short term, as we mentioned, the new tariffs can increase end-user prices by at least 14 percent. In the medium-term, electronics companies could move their manufacturing out of China, transferring the costs of doing so to the consumer. In the long term, prices could remain high as the countries companies are relocating to may not have the labor or logistics cost advantages of China.

Taiwan ODMs Pulling Back Production from Mainland in Wake of US Import Tariffs

You could see more "Made in Taiwan" and lesser "Made in China" on the shelves of your friendly neighborhood Microcenter, as major Taiwanese original device manufacturers (ODMs) are considering moving manufacturing back from Mainland China to Taiwan. ODMs are contract manufacturers of PC hardware, which take designs from [mostly western] electronics companies, and turn them into marketable product.

Among the first such ODMs is Quanta Computer, which manufactures some components in Shanghai, with server assembly either in Fremont, California; or just outside Cologne, Germany. The move is triggered by harsh import tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration on imports of electronics goods from China (PRC), running up to 25 percent, as part of the ongoing trade-war between the world's top-two economies. Tech stocks are rattled at the prospect of cheap hardware imports getting significantly pricier for American consumers.

Hype Trains and You: A PSA

Hype Trains are bad. They are not just bad because a random frog on the internet told you so either, they are bad because they build upon themselves to the point that you would believe a random frog on the internet if he said something beneficial about your chosen product.

It's not just technology either. It can happen in politics, religion, whatever. But they are bad, and not to be trusted. They aren't just bad for humanity and all that, they are bad for the products they represent. Yes, they actually hurt what they are hyping. Ryzen didn't benefit from the hypetrain anymore than Trump benefited from the "Trump Train." Allow me to explain (and please, put the foam back in your mouth for me uttering "Trump" in a tech article. That's the only time I promise).

On Intel and Their $7B White House Affair

By now, we've all seen, or at least heard, about Intel CEO's Brian Kraznich Fab 42 announcement (done from the Oval Office, no less). It was to be a joint press conference to announce a highly impactful investment on U.S. soil, which also turned into some welcome PR for Intel, and got the CEO some face time with the President.

It has to be said though, that hailing this as a Trump administration win is simply politics doing its best: spinning the truth for its own benefit. I say this because the original announcement for the construction of this Arizona fab was done way back in 2011, with then Intel CEO Paul Otellini breaking the news that they would spend $5 billion on the plant during the Obama Administration. Construction started that year, with overall expectation for its completion being somewhere around 2013. Cue the usual delays, and enter 2013's 10% decline of the PC market, and Intel did what any sensible company would do in the wake of lower expected volume of shipments (and respectively lower production needs) - they postponed the opening of the factory, indefinitely, instead choosing to improve manufacturing capability of its then already-operational fabs. So, the factory wasn't announced because of President Trump's policies and overall government acumen, nor is it probably going to be finished by the time his first term ends.
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