Google Backs Off, How Big of a blow is this for Huawei?
Triggered by the ongoing China-U.S. trade disputes, Google has decided to suspend Huawei from Andriod services
Reuters reported on Sunday that Google will no longer conduct business which involves the transfer of hardware, software and technical services with China’s tech giant Huawei. Google will also stop providing technical support and collaboration to Huawei for Android and Google services.
This will ultimately affect the sales of new Huawei phones in the overseas market since users will not be able to access popular applications and services, including the Google Play Store, Gmail, and Chrome. At the same time, Android system updates will no longer be available which will force consumers to switch to another android phone brand.
Google applications are a daily use for Android users. After losing its support, the market competitiveness of Huawei mobile phones will be greatly reduced. A Google spokesperson told Reuters that Holders of current Huawei smartphones with Google apps, however, will continue to be able to use and download app updates provided by Google.
The same source said that “For users of our services, Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices.”
The Android operating system is available through the open source license and most Google apps are banned in China hence the impact is expected to be minimal in the domestic market.
Huawei has said that the company had already developed a backup operating system to put it into use in case it got blocked from using Android. Some of this technology is already being used in products sold in China, according to the company. However, the commercialization of this system requires consideration of compatibility with a large number of overseas mobile phone applications.
Bloomberg reported on Sunday that Chipmakers including Intel, Qualcomm, Xilinx, and Broadcom have told their employees that they will not supply critical software and components to Huawei until further notice.
“No matter what happens, the Android Community does not have any legal right to block any company from accessing its open-source license,” said Eric Xu, rotating chairman of Huawei in an interview with Reuters.
Applications not covered by the open source license such as Gmail, Chrome, and YouTube will disappear from the latest smartphones of Huawei. From the perspective of mobile phone shipments, IDC data, a global provider of market intelligence, said Huawei's mobile phone shipments reached 206 million units in 2018, of which 101 million units were overseas, accounting for 49%. Europe is Huawei’s second-biggest market and could be shaken as Huawei licenses these services from Google in Europe.
This move by Google is a huge blow to Huawei, which recently outperformed Apple in terms of units shipped for the second calendar quarter of 2018. Huawei now stands in second place among the world's top smartphone vendors, after surpassing Apple for the first time in seven years.