Where there's a will, there's Huawei: US govt already eases trade ban with 90-day reprieve

Temporary General License buys time for Chinese tech giant, customers, suppliers

The US government on Monday gave Huawei temporary permission to obtain technology from American organizations so that the Chinese giant can continue to maintain and repair existing deployments of its products around the world, and push US-sourced software updates to people's phones.

Last week, Uncle Sam banned Huawei and dozens of its affiliates from sourcing American components and code for its equipment, effectively cutting the Middle Kingdom manufacturer off from US-designed chips, software, and other components. By placing Huawei on a so-called Entity List, the US government required American organizations to get export licenses before doing any further business with the Chinese corporation, thus bringing chunks of the equipment maker's supply chain to a sudden shuddering halt.

That meant Huawei phones already out in people's hands, or base stations and other networking kit deployed in the field globally, would be cut off from software updates and repairs and other parts that originated from America – such as Android operating system and app updates, or electronics. And Huawei kit is used the world over. The ramifications were potentially huge: crucial telecommunications equipment out in the wild can't be easily repaired, security patches can't be issued, and so on.

Something had to give. On Monday, the US government's Department of Commerce granted a temporary general license that allows US businesses to export or transfer “information and communications technology or services” to Huawei for the next 90 days, from May 20 until August 19, this year, for existing kit.

After the 90-day period, provided there isn't an extension, US companies will not be allowed to engage in trade with Huawei and 68 of its affiliates without permission from Uncle Sam.

Google Android mascot takes off with a bindle

Pushed around and kicked around, always a lonely boy: Run Huawei, Google Play, turns away, from Huawei... turns away


So, in short, as things stand right now, for the next three months, Huawei can continue sourcing components and code from the US to maintain smartphones, switches, base stations and other gear already in customers' hands. For the next three months and beyond, Huawei cannot use any US-sourced components and code in any new equipment sold to customers. This is subject to change, such as if export licenses are granted, though don't hold your breath on that.

"The goal seems to be to prevent internet, computer, and cellphone systems from crashing," Kevin Wolf, a lawyer and former Department of Commerce official, told Reuters. “This is not a capitulation. This is housekeeping.”

Google responded over the weekend to Uncle Sam's crackdown by scrapping its Play Store and other services for future Huawei mobile phones, though it will continue to support existing handhelds and devices. That dealt a blow to the Chinese communications kit maker, considering it’s the second largest smartphone slinger after Samsung. Huawei shipped some 59.1 million handsets, equivalent to 18.8 per cent share of world sales, according to analysts' figures from the first quarter of 2019.

So now, Huawei has 90 days to prepare its supply chain before President Trump's export restrictions kick in. The temporary license comes days after the Commander-in-Chief issued an executive order that granted Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross power to prohibit technology or services developed or manufactured by "foreign adversaries."

“Huawei has been determined by the US government to be acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States,” the US Department of Commerce said in a statement.

“BIS [the US govt's Bureau of Industry and Security] is also adding Huawei’s non-US affiliates to the Entity List because they pose a significant risk of becoming involvement in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States due to their relationship with Huawei.”

A spokesperson for Huawei was not available for immediate comment. ®

Broader topics

Other stories you might like

  • Google has more reasons why it doesn't like antitrust law that affects Google
    It'll ruin Gmail, claims web ads giant

    Google has a fresh list of reasons why it opposes tech antitrust legislation making its way through Congress but, like others who've expressed discontent, the ad giant's complaints leave out mention of portions of the proposed law that address said gripes.

    The law bill in question is S.2992, the Senate version of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA), which is closer than ever to getting votes in the House and Senate, which could see it advanced to President Biden's desk.

    AICOA prohibits tech companies above a certain size from favoring their own products and services over their competitors. It applies to businesses considered "critical trading partners," meaning the company controls access to a platform through which business users reach their customers. Google, Apple, Amazon, and Meta in one way or another seemingly fall under the scope of this US legislation. 

    Continue reading
  • I was fired for blowing the whistle on cult's status in Google unit, says contractor
    The internet giant, a doomsday religious sect, and a lawsuit in Silicon Valley

    A former Google video producer has sued the internet giant alleging he was unfairly fired for blowing the whistle on a religious sect that had all but taken over his business unit. 

    The lawsuit demands a jury trial and financial restitution for "religious discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation and related causes of action." It alleges Peter Lubbers, director of the Google Developer Studio (GDS) film group in which 34-year-old plaintiff Kevin Lloyd worked, is not only a member of The Fellowship of Friends, the exec was influential in growing the studio into a team that, in essence, funneled money back to the fellowship.

    In his complaint [PDF], filed in a California Superior Court in Silicon Valley, Lloyd lays down a case that he was fired for expressing concerns over the fellowship's influence at Google, specifically in the GDS. When these concerns were reported to a manager, Lloyd was told to drop the issue or risk losing his job, it is claimed. 

    Continue reading
  • Makers of ad blockers and browser privacy extensions fear the end is near
    Overhaul of Chrome add-ons set for January, Google says it's for all our own good

    Special report Seven months from now, assuming all goes as planned, Google Chrome will drop support for its legacy extension platform, known as Manifest v2 (Mv2). This is significant if you use a browser extension to, for instance, filter out certain kinds of content and safeguard your privacy.

    Google's Chrome Web Store is supposed to stop accepting Mv2 extension submissions sometime this month. As of January 2023, Chrome will stop running extensions created using Mv2, with limited exceptions for enterprise versions of Chrome operating under corporate policy. And by June 2023, even enterprise versions of Chrome will prevent Mv2 extensions from running.

    The anticipated result will be fewer extensions and less innovation, according to several extension developers.

    Continue reading
  • End of the road for biz living off free G Suite legacy edition
    Firms accustomed to freebies miffed that web giant's largess doesn't last

    After offering free G Suite apps for more than a decade, Google next week plans to discontinue its legacy service – which hasn't been offered to new customers since 2012 – and force business users to transition to a paid subscription for the service's successor, Google Workspace.

    "For businesses, the G Suite legacy free edition will no longer be available after June 27, 2022," Google explains in its support document. "Your account will be automatically transitioned to a paid Google Workspace subscription where we continue to deliver new capabilities to help businesses transform the way they work."

    Small business owners who have relied on the G Suite legacy free edition aren't thrilled that they will have to pay for Workspace or migrate to a rival like Microsoft, which happens to be actively encouraging defectors. As noted by The New York Times on Monday, the approaching deadline has elicited complaints from small firms that bet on Google's cloud productivity apps in the 2006-2012 period and have enjoyed the lack of billing since then.

    Continue reading
  • It's a crime to use Google Analytics, watchdog tells Italian website
    Because data flows into the United States, not because of that user interface

    Another kicking has been leveled at American tech giants by EU regulators as Italy's data protection authority ruled against transfers of data to the US using Google Analytics.

    The ruling by the Garante was made yesterday as regulators took a close look at a website operator who was using Google Analytics. The regulators found that the site collected all manner of information.

    So far, so normal. Google Analytics is commonly used by websites to analyze traffic. Others exist, but Google's is very much the big beast. It also performs its analysis in the USA, which is what EU regulators have taken exception to. The place is, after all, "a country without an adequate level of data protection," according to the regulator.

    Continue reading
  • UK competition watchdog seeks to make mobile browsers, cloud gaming and payments more competitive
    Investigation could help end WebKit monoculture on iOS devices

    The United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Friday said it intends to launch an investigation of Apple's and Google's market power with respect to mobile browsers and cloud gaming, and to take enforcement action against Google for its app store payment practices.

    "When it comes to how people use mobile phones, Apple and Google hold all the cards," said Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, in a statement. "As good as many of their services and products are, their strong grip on mobile ecosystems allows them to shut out competitors, holding back the British tech sector and limiting choice."

    The decision to open a formal investigation follows the CMA's year-long study of the mobile ecosystem. The competition watchdog's findings have been published in a report that concludes Apple and Google have a duopoly that limits competition.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022