In the latest saga of Trump versus Huawei, the U.S Government has made some small concessions to help business deal with the latest round of announcements.
Last week, the Trump administration announced an executive order that would effectively ban U.S companies from using telecommunications equipment from sources the United States has identified as ‘national security threats.’
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The order didn’t explicitly name Huawei, but it was obvious this is what the order was targeting. Huawei doesn’t do a huge amount of business in the United States, but it does supply equipment to many internet service providers in rural America who would be heavily affected by the order.
US loosens law with a temporary license
Several companies have said it would be extremely difficult or close to impossible to replace the equipment in order to comply with the order. In an attempt to avoid this, the U.S Department of Commerce announced a loosening of the restrictions that would allow Huawei and its American partners to continue their relationships; however, the ban still ensures Huawei can’t buy American products to create new technology or services.
"The Temporary General License grants operators time to make other arrangements and the Department space to determine the appropriate long term measures for Americans and foreign telecommunications providers that currently rely on Huawei equipment for critical services," Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement.
Huawei is working on alternatives
Interestingly Huawei seems unphased by the restrictions saying they have a ‘plan b’ to deal with anything the U.S throws at them. "We shall not narrow-mindedly exclude US chips. We shall grow together. But when there is a supply shortage, we have a backup," he said in an interview with Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.
Huawei will immediately lose access to Android operating system updates following Google's plan to suspend some business with the Chinese tech giant https://t.co/Mw3arQKDgIpic.twitter.com/G0Y53BD9wE— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) May 20, 2019
The Chinese tech company also say they have been developing their own operating system for their smartphones and devices just in case the relationship with Google, who powers Android ever soured. After the restrictions were announced last week, Google said they would remove as an Android partner effectively locking them out from a range of Google-powered services.
Huawei's own-developed smart phone Operating System, reportedly named "HongMeng OS", is being trialled out and will gradually replace the Android system, according to three Chinese media reports. pic.twitter.com/GacM5xQMYJ— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) May 20, 2019
In house OS to replace Android
Huawei has said they had been developing an operating system of their own, just in case this ever happened. While there is little known about the system it is thought to be called "HongMeng OS." Chinese media are reporting that the system will begin trials soon and will eventually totally replace the Android system. However, Huawei still faces the challenge of getting major app makers to join the party.
The restrictions against Huawei are just one aspect of an escalating trade war between the United States and China that is costing both economies.