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Huawei will no longer have access to Google services and future Android updates

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Google has suspended business with Huawei that requires the transfer of hardware and software products except those covered by open source licenses, a source close to the matter told Reuters on Sunday, in a blow to the Chinese technology company that the US government has sought to blacklist around the world.

To put it simpler terms, Huawei will no longer have access to Google’s security updates and technical support, and future devices will no longer have apps such as YouTube and Google Maps. As clarified by the BBC in a report, Huawei can continue to use the Android operating system since that’s available through an open source license.

The move from Google arrives after the United States added Huawei to its ‘Entity List’ last week, which essentially meant that US companies can no longer do business with Huawei without explicit government approval.

Image: Reuters

Details of the specific services were still being discussed internally at Google, according to the source. Huawei attorneys are also studying the impact of the US Commerce Department’s actions, a Huawei spokesman said on Friday. Huawei was not immediately reachable for further comment.

Huawei will continue to have access to the version of the Android operating system available through the open source license that is freely open to anyone who wishes to use it.

Oh man. We’ll see where the Google/Huawei thing plays out, but inhibiting consumers from getting updated Android (more) in any way does not spark joy.

I’ve spent a lot of my career dealing with maybe-🇨🇳, and fully recognize most people’s threat model isn’t usually nations.

— Lesley Carhart (@hacks4pancakes) May 19, 2019

But Google will stop providing any technical support and collaboration for Android and Google services to Huawei going forward, the source said.

On Thursday the Trump administration officially added Huawei to a trade blacklist, immediately enacting restrictions that will make it extremely difficult for the technology giant to do business with US companies.

Tech2 has reached out to Huawei India for a comment on how this will play out for Indian owners of Huawei smartphones and will update the story accordingly.

Several countries blacklisting Huawei

The US isn’t the only country blacklisting the Chinese smartphone and telecom giant. Huawei is currently facing a growing backlash from a number of countries, led by the US.

But why? As per the US, Huawei devices and equipment posses the possible concern of being used by China for surveillance. Australia and New Zealand recently blocked Huawei and ZTE from providing equipment for its 5G network, which is set to launch commercially in 2019.

The German government, meanwhile was considering banning Huawei from providing 5G equipment in the country saying security concerns are of “high relevance.” As per an earlier report, the European Union is also considering proposals that would effectively amount to a de-facto ban on Huawei equipment for 5G mobile networks.

Huawei has vehement reiterated that its work does not pose any threats and that it is independent from the Chinese government.

The logo of Huawei Technologies. Image: Reuters

Does Huawei have a backup plan?

As per Google, Huawei will continue to have access to the version of the Android operating system available through the open source license, known as Android Open Source Project (AOSP), that is available for free.

Huawei has said it has spent the last few years preparing a contingency plan of sorts by developing its own technology in case it is blocked from using Android. Some of this technology is already being used in products sold in China, the company has said.

In an interview with Reuters, the rotating chairman of Huawei, Eric Xu, said, “No matter what happens, the Android Community does not have any legal right to block any company from accessing its open-source license.”

Popular Google apps such as Gmail, YouTube and the Chrome browser that are available through Google’s Play Store will disappear from future Huawei handsets as those services are not covered by the open source license and require a commercial agreement with Google.

But users of existing Huawei devices who have access to the Google Play Store will be able to download app updates provided by Google.

With inputs from Reuters

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