Google confirms that its app store will continue to function for existing Huawei device users

  • TECH
  • Monday, 20 May 2019

Google has affirmed that its Google Play app store will continue to function for existing Huawei device users, following reports that the US company will suspend business with the Chinese telecoms giant, which last week was added to a US trade blacklist.

Huawei Technologies and over 70 affiliates were added to the US Commerce Department’s Entity List last week on national security grounds, restricting the company from buying parts and components from US companies without government approval.

“We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications,” said a Google spokeswoman. “For users of our services, Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices.”

Google’s statement follows a Reuters report on Monday that the US internet giant had halted business that requires the transfer of hardware, software and technical services to the Shenzhen-based firm, currently the world’s second-largest smartphone supplier behind Samsung and reliant on Google’s Android operating system.

Huawei says it prepared for US tech ban years ago

Google’s compliance with the US order would mean that future Huawei devices will lose access to Google services including the Google Play app store, as well as popular apps such as Gmail and YouTube. Huawei would only be able to access the company’s open-source licence for the Android operating system, but this system excludes many of Google’s own services.

Huawei has said previously that it has developed a proprietary operating system for smartphones and computers as a “plan B”, should US restrictions jeopardise its business relationship with Google.

US may scale back restrictions on Huawei after adding it to trade blacklist

Huawei now finds itself in a similar situation to that of rival ZTE last year, which faced a nearly 3-month ban from doing business with US companies after it was found to have breached terms of a US sanctions settlement. ZTE’s reliance on US components meant that operations virtually ground to a halt.

On Friday, the US Commerce Department said it may ease some restrictions on Huawei by issuing a temporary, 90-day general licence that gives companies time to ensure that their communications networks and equipment are operating reliably.

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