U.S. Steps Back from the Huawei Cliff, for Now

Posted on May 21, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Cloud, Google, Mobile with 151 Comments

The United States government announced Monday that it has temporarily eased its dramatic trade restrictions on Huawei in order to minimize disruptions for its customers in the U.S.

As you may recall, the U.S. issued a startling attack against Huawei last week in blacklisting the firm from doing business with companies in the United States. The fallout was both quick and dramatic, with Google—which supplies Huawei with Android and associated apps and services—and other U.S.-based firms immediately cutting Huawei off. The moves threatened to materially harm Huawei’s mobile devices and networking businesses.

“Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world,” a company statement noted, responding to the blacklisting. “As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefitted both users and the industry. Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products covering those have been sold or still in stock globally. We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally.”

But after a weekend of introspection, sanity prevailed, if temporarily: The U.S. government gave Huawei and its U.S.-based customers and partners a 90-day reprieve on the blacklisting, essentially allowing business to continue as usual for now.

The U.S. moves against Huawei, which is an independent corporation with no legal ties to the Chinese government, is not completely unprecedented. But it is unusual, and the fall out was immediate. This was by design: The United States is currently involved in a quickly escalating trade war with China, and the presidential administration believes that this kind of threat will get China to bow to its demands.

For its part, Huawei has described the U.S. action against it as “bullying,” plain and simple, which is certainly accurate. Huawei is really just a pawn in a general campaign against China and its rising technological prowess, which the U.S. fears will lead to China surpassing it on the world stage. The resulting wave of fear and xenophobia—Chinese firms have a different relationship with their government than do U.S. and many western firms with theirs—has risen dramatically under the current administration.

“This is not just an attack against Huawei,” a company representative told Reuters. “It is an attack on the liberal, rules-based order.”

Perhaps. But it certainly worked. And now it remains to be seen how the trade war will be resolved, and whether Huawei will be allowed to do business with firms in the U.S. going forward. This isn’t over yet.

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Comments (151)

151 responses to “U.S. Steps Back from the Huawei Cliff, for Now”

  1. waethorn

    "The U.S. moves against Huawei, which is an independent corporation with no legal ties to the Chinese government"

    WRONG! The CEO is a Party member.

    • wright_is

      In reply to Waethorn:

      And how many CEOs in America belong to/support either the Republican or Democrat parties?

      • waethorn

        In reply to wright_is:

        In America, you have a choice of political parties.



      • Stooks

        In reply to wright_is:

        The Chinese government controls everything in that country. Huawei is controlled by the government. They will do anything they ask.

        The same government that has been caught time and time again using their militarized cyber espionage resources to hack multiple US companies. Remember the Google hacks? I won't even go into their human rights violations or the fact that their president is nothing but a dictator with a term that ends when he passes away.

        In 2012 the US House Intelligence Committee published a report following a year-long investigation that found Huawei posed a security threat to the United States. Multiple UK intelligence sources has said basically the same things about doing business with them.

        The big problem will be if they get into the 5G infrastructure which is just now starting to build out. They could easily spy on anything at the base level, running through that equipment.

        Huawei also rips off anything they want from any company because their government simply does not care about IP. I watched a video yesterday of some tech site that went over to China to visit Huawei, at their request, and they showed a Huawei store.....which was an exact copy of a Apple store, minus the logos. The same tables, with the same stands holding up products even the employees wearing t-shirts and the same type of badges. The PR guy with the tech site employee, who was an American working for Huawei was asked by the tech site guy "does this not look like a Apple store"? His answer, I do not think so. It was so completely obvious.

        • wright_is

          In reply to Stooks:

          All of what you say also goes for the USA.

          Listening to Mutti Merkel's phone? NSA spying stations in major cities? NSA caught trying to intercept data in major Internet routing points in Germany? Caught putting NSA-goodness on HP network gear bound for foreign parts?

          Gitmo? Illegal detention? Illegal renditions, circumventing local laws and law enforcement? The treatment of immigrants trying to cross the border? Not exactly a shining example on the human rights front either.

          This current issue, Government bans Huawei, all US companies have to comply.

          The UK intelligence services actually say that there are no national security issues with Huawei kit, that they can find, but the coding is sloppy.

          So the question I have to ask myself is, do I want the USA spying on me, or, possibly but not proven, China? Preferably neither. If I have to pay for it, then the cheaper of two evils, thanks all the same.

          The Microsoft Stores don't look anything like Apple Stores then?

          • Stooks

            In reply to wright_is:

            You logic is flawed. The US government did not order Cisco/Microsoft/Apple etc to install code/hardware that would enable the NSA to spy. Those companies can elect to take a contract from the US government to develop that stuff.

            China can and does order Huawei to develop, install, turn on and use their software/hardware to to spy for the Chinese intelligent services.

            All countries spy on others. The US is a huge player in that arena no doubt.

            All that other BS about Gitmo and treatment of Illegals at the border is debatable political horse shatt. Comparing how the US treats illegals trying to break into the US vs how China treats its own people that do not conform is a JOKE at best. Thanks for the laugh.

            • wright_is

              In reply to Stooks:

              The US government has tried. And they have been caught intercepting the kit en-route and installing their own spyware. And if they are supplied with a NSL, they have to comply and can't tell anyone about it.

              As to the BS about Gitmo, human rights are human rights, it doesn't matter who you are or what you (might) have done.

        • Paul Thurrott

          In reply to Stooks:

          I love that you're an expert in this. And how trusting your are in any government. Including the US government, which spies on its own allies.

          Samsung ripped off all kinds of IP to become the world's biggest smartphone maker.

          Microsoft ripped off all kinds of IP to dominate the industry during the PC boom and was finally hauled into multiple antitrust courts (US, EU, and South Korea) to stop its continued abuse.

          But yes. Huawei bad. Got it.

          I'm sure you're this critical of Microsoft, Samsung, and all those other non-Chinese companies that did/do exactly the same things that bother you so much about Huawei.

          Guys, seriously. Think.

      • waethorn

        In reply to wright_is:

        And you want a foreign political party member for a surveillance state building technology for your country? WAKE UP!

        • wright_is

          In reply to Waethorn:

          Exactly why I don't buy Cisco or HP kit any more.

        • nbplopes

          In reply to Waethorn:

          Sfill waiting for the so called “evidences” of either nuclear or chemical weapons in Iraq. The reason why many countries joined forces with the US in their demand.

          I guess the UK it’s not willing to play that game anymore for some reason.

          i think you the one who need to wake up. The conundrum you mention is one that all normal countries work with.

          I honestly do not believe that this is the issue in play.

          The issue is ... is China policy as permeable to foreign businesses as is the US and other Western countries? It does not look that they are. Things over there can quickly get lost in burocracy and mannerisms ... a form of protectionism.

          • waethorn

            In reply to nbplopes:

            And why would you want to deal with a country that has a history of not only privacy issues, but human rights issues, such as with Tibet, Uyghurs, are trying to re-acquire Taiwan, and who are making deals with Iran, whom the US gov't has caught the CEO of Huawei in trade deals with, despite Iran making threats towards the US and its allies, and the US putting sanctions upon?

            • nbplopes

              In reply to Waethorn:

              I have much stronger ties with the US than China. Cultural, emotional, businesses ... even a shared view of progress ... well lately this one ...

              Actually as I think of it all my tech products except for the Telly are US made, Apple actually (the one you so much despise). I don't think any of the software I use is Chinese either. I wonder what ties have Facebook with the US government to be allowed to operate in the way they do with no consequences ... used it for years ... dropped it recently after the Instagram/Password fiasco ... that cannot be accidental.

              Having said this, just because I am a friend of someone it does not mean that it is beyond criticism. If you are going to pull the human rights and other stuff ... have a look ar your own history. Heck we all have glass roofs when it comes to that.

              These things should never be forgotten. Yet, because of that, the matters of today should be discuss in a more logic, scientific as well as humanitarian principles ... rather than fear.

              I don't believe in the "ruling by a fear" as a tool for progress. Neither I think its democratic as of democracy. I reject this tool. Its a tool that promotes intolerance and stupidity! Ultimately death. When I observe it, ... it smells ... and I am smelling it once again.

            • Paul Thurrott

              In reply to Waethorn:

              People ask this question about the USA, by the way.

              Microsoft does business with China. Should they be held to this standard too?

          • Greg Green

            In reply to nbplopes:

            Glad to oblige. New York Times

            The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons, BY C. J. CHIVERS

            Published: October 14, 2014

            Accompanying the story is a photo with this caption:

            A controlled detonation of recovered mustard shells near Taji, Iraq, on Aug. 17, 2008. John Paul Williams

            So the NYT had proof in 2008 but didn’t report it until you were sufficiently brainwashed in 2014.

            Consider yourself smarter now.

        • AnOldAmigaUser

          In reply to Waethorn:

          Do you think that you are not living in a surveillance state now? Really?

          Are you not paying attention.

          • Greg Green

            In reply to AnOldAmigaUser:

            Yes, we are, but actresses don’t disappear, their aren’t slave labor camps, or concentration/reduction camps. Other than were just like China, right?

            • AnOldAmigaUser

              In reply to Greg Green:

              Internment camps during WWII

              Genocide of indigenous population, reservations, Bureau of Indian Affairs...

              Slavery, Jim-Crow, lynchings, chain-gangs, redlining, this one goes on and on...

              Immigration policy forever

              Foreign policy since 9/11

              Some like to think of American exceptionalism, but the only thing we are exceptional at is deluding ourselves. Take a look at the statistics, we are a middle of the road compared to other developed countries...except in maternal mortality, infant mortality, mass-murders...the kind of things we can take pride in.

        • Paul Thurrott

          In reply to Waethorn:

          No offense, but is there is a country on earth that has spied more on foreign governments and corporations, and even on its own allies, than the United States? My god, they've been caught doing this repeatedly.

          But yes, China bad, USA good.

          You're kind of making my point for me.

      • B Mallon

        In reply to wright_is:

        Your comparison is weak. Supporting a political party in a democracy is very different being an official party member in a communist regime.

      • Paul Thurrott

        In reply to wright_is:

        Exactly. The hypocrisy is amazing. We're so fearful of different places/people/things.

      • Greg Green

        In reply to wright_is:

        You really don’t understand how communism, or other totalitarian countries work do you?

        In Hitler’s Germany you had to be a party member to be in key positions, including teaching.

        In Hussein’s Iraq you had to be a party member to be in key positions, including teaching.

        In China you have to be a party member to be in key positions, including teaching.

        Germany and the US (and most of the world) have no such requirements. Understand the difference between requirements and coincidence.

    • nbplopes

      In reply to Waethorn:

      Do you even read the stuff?

      Has is said. It has no legal ties.

      In the US there are no CEOs that are members of some party and with no governamental connections?

      • waethorn

        In reply to nbplopes:

        Would you like to put up a foreign surveillance state's privacy record against your own? I know I wouldn't.

      • jjonas51

        In reply to nbplopes:

        You seriously can't differentiate between a one party communist dictatorship and a multi party democratic republic?

      • Greg Green

        In reply to nbplopes:

        As Will Roger, Mark Twain or Ambrose Bierce might have said, In the US the government works for the CEOs, in China the CEOs work for the government.

        Really, that’s how authoritarian governments work. You don’t succeed without the party’s approval.

        “The Chinese Cyber Security Law and other national strategies like ‘Military-Civil Fusion’ mean that nothing Chinese firms do can be independent of the state. Firms must support the law enforcement, intelligence, and national security interests of the Chinese Communist Party,” former US military leaders.

  2. lvthunder

    In reply to WP7Mango:

    How? We catch people who leak documents all the time. I'm also not blindly trusting the government. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt and using it's better to be safe then sorry approach to this situation. It's not like having or not having a Chinese company's phone is going to impact my life at all. If I want better pictures then my iPhone will take then I'll grab my Canon 5D Mark III.

  3. Piyer

    In my opinion, US went too far and this will be a turning point.

    Unlike other companies, Huawei is not a push over. They have the whole stack, software, hardware, semiconductors, chip fabs, and the engineers, end to end, period. Last week, they also introduced an enterprise scale DB too.

    Even if this dispute is resolved, as any company would do, they will move forward with their plan B. Even if US and EU exclude Huawei, they still have China, Russia, India, parts of Asia, Africa and parts of Middle East. They will go after these markets with aggressive pricing, others cannot match.

    Its sure going to be interesting!

  4. eric_rasmussen

    I do feel bad for the people working at these Chinese companies that are being impacted. I know several engineers in China who I enjoyed working with. They're smart, they enjoy Computer Science, and they want a good life for their children. They're not that much different from the average person here; it's their government that has exerted totalitarian control.

    Sometimes IP theft is blatant, like the designs of the F-35. But sometimes the theft may not even be intentional. When you're working with someone from China as though they are a member of your team, you can't somehow delete the ideas you shared with them after they leave the company. I blame American business for it, since the IP theft occurs mostly because business is looking for a cheaper way to engineer products. Outsourcing engineering to China and India essentially gives our R&D to those countries for free. I do wish we partnered with them better though, rather than going on the xenophobic tirade that we're on. We gave them our toys on the playground, and now we're threatening to beat them up because they have our toys. It doesn't make any sense.

    • AnOldAmigaUser

      In reply to Eric_Rasmussen:

      It is not just the off-shored engineering, it is the off-shore manufacturing. When you put the sausage together, there is no way you do not get the recipe. It is not really IP theft in that case, we are giving it to them to save cost.

      Just another example of how things can go wrong when it is decided that the only goal of corporate management is to increase shareholder value. Privatize profits, socialize costs.

      • melinau

        In reply to AnOldAmigaUser:

        Yes, that recipe is important, and once you've grasped it, you think about improving on it. The notion that China is "stealing" US IP wholesale (as it were) is increasingly erroneous. Japanese (and latterly Korean) automakers started by building licenced (or knock-off) versions of European or US vehicles, but nowadays have developed technically superior products.

        Similarly China's technological base has passed the point of needing to "steal" anything. Huawei's ability to produce advanced Telecoms infrastructure, subsidised or not, simply emphasises the point.

        The fashion for Off-shoring (aka "globalisation") was\ is all about boosting profit, and in so-doing USA gave away the keys to the castle. A bit late to start whingeing now!

  5. txag

    I used to teach courses that included segments on offshore outsourcing. China provided a rich set of lecture examples, which almost all centered around cheating in one form or another.

  6. UK User

    Ok, I was forced, yes forced to give up my Lumia 650 because Microsoft decided not to be in the mobile arena, nothing wrong with the phone, but that didn't matter. So after much deliberation, and sadness, it has to be said, I chose another phone, I'm not a big buck buyer, hence no Apple phones, so what for me was a considerable outlay, £200, no idea what it is in dollars, I bought a new phone. Sim free so unlocked and that phone was a Honor 10 Lite, that was in February 2019, now I am being threatened again with having a phone that will not function through no fault of my own. At the moment it seems there is a truce, sort of, but I didn't want this new phone in the first place, so due to a 'trade war' of which I have no part, I am being penalised, twice. Once by Microsoft then again by an American administration, free trade is costing me dear.

  7. madthinus

    This ploy by the USA will ultimately badly backfire. The reliance on US tech is a national security concern for China, so their drive to accelerate the development of their own tech solutions will now be an even bigger priority. 10 years from now we will look back at this a the moment the tide started to turn.

  8. Lordbaal

    I like to see this "evidence" of Huawei spying on us.

  9. txag

    Huawei may not have legal ties to the government, but they have plenty of ties.

  10. lvthunder

    You make it sound like this was an attack against just Huawei. That's not true. Read the actual order. It's against every Chinese owned telecom. Also like Paul said on another comment things work differently in China. It's not like here where you can go against the wishes of the government like Apple did in the San Bernadino case. Does anyone know what happened to the guy that made the genetically altered baby? Last I heard he disappeared.

  11. mikiem

    What I haven't seen mentioned are the consequences from trying to kill Huawei that will effect the rest of the world. Yeah, they'll have less choice when buying new, but what about all the existing and planned Huawei hardware in the UK's network infrastructure for example?

    • derek cater

      In reply to mikiem:

      I wonder what the consequence of this unilateral restriction of access to essential software resources will be. What will trading blocs like the European Union think and how will they act? Surely they will need to protect their interests. Trump has not sought to hide his distain for the EU. Could he cut off their access to such critical resources because of some perceived slight?

  12. Rob_Wade

    I am an unashamed, unapologetic conservative. I believe in, with very few limitations, free trade and letting market forces determine winners and losers---NOT government. In fact, the smaller the government, the better. This whole tariff war just angers me beyond words. Where is all this alleged evidence against Huawei? They make remarkable hardware at prices that embarrass the likes of Samsung and Apple. I've seen no evidence that Huawei is any more or less conniving than Apple, Google, Amazon, Samsung. Competition is GOOD, yet this smells like more than just being about "security" or a trade imbalance. The federal government has gotten WAY too big.

    • hz10

      In reply to Rob_Wade:

      I think discussions about the risk here and in other places (including mainstream media) often miss the most important point: Mainland Chinese firms must obey the order of CCP at any moment without absolutely no exception. The top leaders such as the famed founder Ren are veteran CCP members who have sworn under oath to be loyal to the CCP unconditionally. Huawei's relationship with the regime is particularly intimate. This is why the CCP started a national campaign to save Huawei's CFO after she was arrested, and treated quite fairly by Canada. They arrested Canadians and sentenced one to death to threaten Canada. They usually have muted responses even when Chinese citizens are treated badly in foreign countries (e.g. literally tortured by N. Korea).

      I am all for free trade, but the trade in China is anything but free trade. They blocked Google, Twitter, Facebook, foreign financial companies, imposed astronomic tariffs on foreign cars, and many other goods, massive IP theft...

      I am 100% sure about one thing: Huawei will do well as long as the CCP rules China because Huawei is their tool, and they need it to equip its military and massive nationwide surveillance.

      Someone should make documentary about how Huawei pirated Nortel, then eventually destroyed this good company, others.

      Competition is not good, but GREAT, but only if it is fair.

    • bluvg

      In reply to Rob_Wade:

      Sounds like more of a libertarian perspective than conservative?

    • lvthunder

      In reply to Rob_Wade:

      While I agree with most everything you say I believe the government has evidence that they just don't release because it would allow the Chinese to find our spies and informants. Remember the order is against all the Chinese owned telecom companies and not just Wuawei.

  13. jjonas51

    "Chinese firms have a different relationship with their government than do U.S. and many western firms with theirs"

    Wow, Paul, just wow! Yes, it is quite different. The Chinese government can make you, your family, and anyone else simple disappear.

    • skane2600

      In reply to jjonas51:

      And US Administrations have claimed that a President has the power to designate anyone as an "Enemy Combatant" and lock them away indefinitely without a trial or any due process.

      • Greg Green

        In reply to skane2600:

        If they’re overseas fighting against US forces or allies. If they’re in the US all constitutional protections continue to exist.

        You really are confused on the differences between US and China, because China does exactly what you claim the US does, only the Chinese call it a social credit system. Read about the disappearance of actress Fan Bingbing.

        • skane2600

          In reply to Greg Green:

          Did you actually read what I wrote? There's no qualifications on the claim that a President has the power to determine that an individual an "Enemy Combatant". It doesn't matter whether a person fought against the US or where they are.

          The irony of course is that the most common scenario for foreign fighters is when the US sends troops to foreign countries. We lead the world in Enemy Combatants.

      • txag

        In reply to wright_is:

        I recently saw a poll that said that Germans hate the US more than any other country in Europe. Would you be in that group?

        • RobertJasiek

          In reply to txag:

          I am a German. Asking whether somebody hates a particular other country is drawing a black-white picture and presuming that hatred would be the black aspect. My opinion is not black-white and my feeling is not hatred but I do have a growing disliking of US politics and its supporting voters with respect to their political voting. When I grew up in the 1970s, the USA was a country to be grateful for because of having liberated Germany from NS dictatorship and war, imported democracy and state of law and contributed to culture. US soldiers in Berlin were very friendly people. My opinion on the USA has changed dramatically for the following reasons:

          • building too many atomic bombs and therefore putting mankind at risk,
          • hurting the environment and climate too much and therefore putting mankind at risk,
          • extreme surveillance attacks by US secret services on mankind,
          • regime changes and criminal political actions in quite a few third world countries hurting democracy and state of law,
          • unjust wars incl. Vietnam and unethical warfare,
          • economic wars implicating dictating third countries' politics, such as with respect to Iran trade sanctions,
          • killing civilians by drones,
          • imprisoning people while denying them their human rights such as in Guantanamo and secret prisons,
          • US presidents undermining human rights, democracy and state of law even in the USA itself,
          • travel restrictions for Germans to the USA etc.

          As a consequence, the USA is no longer a good model, preferred origin of, especially IT, goods and services, or preferred destination of travel. The USA politics and decreasing reputation are hurting the USA and, in particular, its own economy.

          • skane2600

            In reply to RobertJasiek:

            The US government (and sadly some of us citizens) have squandered the good will of other nations. We can leverage our previous good deeds for only so long. It's time for other nations not to make excuses for our bad behavior and I believe they are starting to do so.

      • Greg Green

        In reply to wright_is:

        Only for those captured overseas in combat zones. You don’t really think GTMOs just an extra territorial jail, do you?

      • Stooks

        In reply to wright_is:

        Yes I have. How many US families or citizens for that matter have been put into Gitmo?

        Seriously wake up! Gitmo was a prison for war criminals, you know those that fought against us in war. Probably the nicest war prison in history.

  14. Nonmoi

    This is going to be very hard on US tech companies that already facing uncertain and painful transitions from old technologies norms and a regulation free global net to a more regulated and isolated intranets and new tech paradigms.

    Now, On top of all the hardships that are facing these companies, Microsoft included, due to change of time and historical factors. The problems are compounded by this worse kind of government interventions.

    These companies will have hard time to make case to their foreign clients for reliability and security of their product - it is beyond technical. And if it can happen to big companies and countries like Huawei and China, what to prevent their smaller less powerful clients to be the next target, heck, next collateral damage? A company's promise against its own government?

  15. YouWereWarned

    All arguments about which country spies the most, us or "them" (answer is ALL of the above), is irrelevant to the core issue: Are we wise to rely on adversaries for critical infrastructure such as 5G routing and transmission equipment. If you say "yes", please stay away from all flashing RED buttons and switches. The troublesome issue is whether we have the required manufacturing capacity to build the stuff in a timely fashion. The lost money pissed away in a trade war can be used instead to retrain workers waiting (forever) for "clean coal" to happen.

    • skane2600

      In reply to YouWereWarned:

      It would be much more accurate to call China a trading partner than an adversary. If China was such a big threat why wouldn't the government ban any manufacturing of US products over there? The very selective basis of the ban undermines the whole credibility of the security justification.

  16. 1speed

    "Huawei has described the U.S. action against it as “bullying,” plain and simple, which is certainly accurate." Yet, Huawei's CFO is sitting in her comfortable home in Vancouver awaiting an extradition hearing. While two Canadian citizens are sitting in jail, another convicted Canadian suddenly had his jail term changed to the death penalty. China has done far worse to Canada to retaliate against a US charge. Huawei is in no position to complain about unfair treatment.

  17. Winner

    If the claims were valid I would have assumed the US wouldn't back down. That suggests to me that this is a bunch of BS.

  18. terry jones

    The amount of Moral Equivalence in these comments is appalling.

    Did you guys all have the same leftover hippy professors in college?

  19. geoff

    The main problem here is that a foreign government can "instruct" a so-called independent company to alter a product *after* it's shipped. They might do that for political reasons, or perhaps as leverage in a trade war, or for spying, or whatever. If that's the state of global trade right now, then we have a serious problem.

    Unfortunately, it's true. A rogue government might really do that, and the 'puppet' company might feel that they have no option but to do exactly what they're told, even if it hurts their customers. Of course, those of us elsewhere in the world would be reluctant to ever trust products from the company again, or indeed that country. It would do enormous damage to reputations.

    And so it has happened.

    The rogue government is the USA. They've "instructed" an independent company (Google) to cripple existing products (Android), for political reasons, and Google has been extremely quick - far too quick - to oblige.

    Why would I ever trust a Google (or perhaps any USA-sourced) company again?

    I'll be looking for products that won't be crippled on the whim of some foreign (to me) government playing hard-ball in some irrelevant (to me) trade agreement negotiations with some other nation (who are also foreign to me). Sadly, Android no longer fits that bill.

    The only silver lining here is that Huawei (who make exceptionally great handsets) may be forced into making a 100% Google-free AOSP smartphone OS to be completely free of future government interference from the USA. That's pretty-much what everyone outside the US has wanted for ages.

    I'll buy one in a heartbeat.

    The only winner here is China.

    • fbman

      In reply to Geoff:

      "Google has been extremely quick - far too quick - to oblige."

      Of course they have, they have had their business practices questioned in Europe by governments, they don't want the same questions in the US.

      So for them its safer to be the obedient company.

  20. Greg Green

    Huawei, which is an independent corporation with no legal ties to the Chinese government...” It’s like a statement from the Onion.

    China’s 2017 Intelligence Law clearly states that any “organization or citizen shall support, assist, and cooperate with” China’s security services.

    “The Chinese Cyber Security Law and other national strategies like ‘Military-Civil Fusion’ mean that nothing Chinese firms do can be independent of the state. Firms must support the law enforcement, intelligence, and national security interests of the Chinese Communist Party...” WaPo,

    Admiral James Stavridis

    USN (Ret.) Commander, U.S. European Command; U.S. Southern Command 

    General Philip Breedlove

    USAF (Ret.) Commander, U.S. European Command

    Admiral Samuel Locklear III

    USN (Ret.) Commander, U.S. Pacific Command 

    Admiral Timothy J. Keating

    USN (Ret.) Commander, U.S. Pacific Command

    Lieutenant General James R. Clapper Jr.

    USAF (Ret.) Director of National Intelligence

    General Keith B. Alexander

    USA (Ret.) Commander, U.S. Cyber Command & Director, National Security Agency

  21. brduffy

    "Huawei may launch its own operating system WITHIN MONTHS and 'it will work with all Android apps"

    Here you go. Problem solved! Now you can use your obscure phone with a brand new obscure operating system developed by the Chinese :-P ...

  22. brduffy

    You know Microsoft made a pretty good phone too there for a while, but nobody cared. It had no ecosystem and no market share. Huawei has an ecosystem (for the very short time being) but still has miserable market share in the US. This phone is going nowhere in the US. Go to The Hill if you want to talk politics.

  23. brduffy

    I can't get too worked up about Huawei phones in the US. They hold less than 1% market share. Why are we talking about this? Its a political discussion.

    • Vladimir Carli

      In reply to brduffy:

      I wasn't aware that this is a US only site. The market share is so low in the US because the phone is not officially sold and the carriers don't offer it in conjunction with mobile plans. Being by far the best available hardware, the market share would certainly much higher if it was properly distributed. In the EU the market share is almost 25%. Unless you think that most Europeans are Chinese loving idiots, you should ask yourself why there is a such a difference.

      Millions of people are negatively impacted by this decision and I think it deserves to be discussed.

    • wright_is

      In reply to brduffy:

      Because it is causing a huge international incident. Huawei is the number two best selling smartphone manufacturer and provider of telecoms equipment to thousands of telcos around the world and suddenly the US Government is making all of them vulnderable to attack, because they won't get updates to vulnerable applications and they will be barred from ordering spare parts for broken equipment.

      Even something like over 40% of US telcos have Huawei equipment in their networks. That kit will be vulnerable, because they won't be able to deal with Huawei and get it repaired or security problems fixed.

      It is a problem that affects hundreds of millions of people.

    • skane2600

      In reply to brduffy:

      So at what percentage do you think people's rights kick in? If 1% of iPhone users phones stop working and Apple refused to fix them and you were one of the 1%, you wouldn't have any reason to complain?

    • wp7mango

      In reply to brduffy:

      Because this has profound implications well beyond the USA.

      • brduffy

        Hardly. They can compete in their own market. They are a non-entity in ours. This is a political discussion. The phones themselves have about as much chance of having a meaningful market share in this country as Windows Phone coming back to be meaningful. I had a Windows Phone that stopped being supported and guess what, I just went and bought another phone that would be. No crisis at all considering there were so few of us.

      • brduffy

        In reply to WP7Mango: There might be implications in other countries. Profound implications, not really. If this company does not meet other countries needs then someone else will pick up the slack. This is about politics and hardly worthy of discussion on a tech site focused on the US consumer market.

        • wp7mango

          In reply to brduffy:

          This tech site doesn't focus on the US consumer market - it focuses on worldwide markets. Read the tag line at the top - The Home for Tech Enthusiasts.

          This issue is indeed about politics, but political policies have a direct impact on technology, whether it's vehicle safety, people's privacy, manufacturing, etc. So I simply can't agree with your assertion that the issue is hardly worth discussing on a tech site simply because it's about politics, because it has a profound impact well beyond the USA and well beyond the phone market.

          In fact, since this is a political issue, there is even more reason to discuss it. Actually, it needs shouting about really loudly, imho, because if the world continues like this then it's us consumers and citizens who will suffer more and more as a result of such policies.

          • brduffy

            In reply to WP7Mango: Well of course it focuses on the US Market otherwise it would hardly be worth keeping up with. I never said it focused exclusively on the US market. An international incident that affects less than 1% of the US market is hardly a tech issue worth considering on this site unless you want to drone on about the politics of it. That is what I would argue is not worth arguing here because it runs the risk of turning the site into a political bully pulpit like Wired. I get enough of that garbage in other places. I would rather read about tech news that matters here.

  24. Stooks

    "with no legal ties to the Chinese government"

    Proven multiple times to be completely false.

    • skane2600

      In reply to Stooks:

      It's true In the same sense that US companies have no legal ties to the US government. If you take a very strict view of "legal ties" this ban was a legal tie between the US government and companies like Google.

      • Paul Thurrott

        In reply to skane2600:

        Sure. Microsoft has ties to the US government, for sure. All big corporations do.

        Microsoft provided XP support to UK-based medical institutions at the behest of the UK government. I guess those are ties, too.

        It's funny how quickly the same people who don't like me using the word xenophobic are so quick to find everything in China so suspicious and yet have no issues with US governmental ties to corporations here at all.

        Actually. It's not funny at all.

        • lvthunder

          In reply to paul-thurrott:

          There is a big difference how the US government of today and most governments around the world treat people and how the Chinese government of today treat people.

        • Stooks

          In reply to paul-thurrott:

          A US company, say Microsoft, could tell the CIA, NSA or whomever to go pound sand and go to the press and tell them they did.

          Can any Chinese company do the same?

          • wright_is

            In reply to Stooks:

            Actually, no they can't. If they receive a National Security Letter, they a) can't inform anyone, theoretically not even their bosses or the company's lawyers b) they have to comply.

            Try taking a look at your own laws, in particular everything to do with national security. The NSL has been around since 1986 and was made much more effective (and much more commonly used) after the Patriot Act and was strengthened even further in 2015 with the Freedom Act.

            In fact the Supreme Court decided that the non-disclosure clause was constitutional and did not run foul of the First Amendment. (Under Seal v. Jefferson B. Sessions, III, Attorney General, Nos. 16-16067, 16-16081, and 16-16082, July 17, 2017)

        • waethorn

          In reply to paul-thurrott:

          How old are you?

          Calling criticism of a foreign country's oppressive single-party political structure as "xenophobic" is like calling someone a Nazi, bringing this topic to Godwin's Law.

          Where is your outrage when someone points out when the US *DOES* commit spying through tech companies?? Business as usual for Microsoft & friends.

  25. skane2600

    I suspect that quietly the administration knew they were on shaky legal ground once Google made the implications of this ban clear. It's one thing to ban products that have not yet been sold, effectively retroactively banning already-purchased and received products is quite another. Of course this ban was never about national security or human rights.

    I suspect at the end of 90 days nothing will change. It's just a face-saving gesture on the part of the administration.

  26. rykr

    First, I'm sure our government agencies have much greater insight into what Huawei is doing than we do. Second, they can't be bad right? They make such awesome phones! #eyeroll

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to rykr:

      They DO make awesome phones.

      And you just trusting any government is hilarious. #eyeroll A transparent, democratic government should tell the world about the evidence they have.

      • jedwards87

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        "And you just trusting any government is hilarious. #eyeroll"

        So you admit you can't trust the Chinese government either right ? Isn't Huawei backed/part of/supported by the Chinese government ?

      • lvthunder

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        And expose our spies and possibly get them killed. That sounds like a great plan Paul.

        I trust the government on this one because it's not just one administration that has been anti Huawei. This all started in the Obama administration and there isn't a lot of things both administrations see the same.

        • Winner

          In reply to lvthunder:

          I remember how well that "evidence" of WMD in Iraq went as claimed by our US government.

          • wright_is

            In reply to Winner:

            I had just moved to Germany and was still learning German when the news broke of Saddam releasing a video ordering the death of Bin Laden. That appeared on German TV, with German translation.

            An hour later, I watched CNN and there was Bush Jr. going on about how this video, ordering the death of Bin Laden, was the final proof that the two were best friends...

            I went to my German friends and asked if I had completely misunderstood the German news. No, I had understood it, but it seems Shrub had drawn the conclusion that wanting to kill someone means you are best friends... I hope they don't use knives at his dinner table!

          • Greg Green

            In reply to Winner:

            They actually were there, it just wasn’t reported by the media til well after the lies were set.

            New York Times: The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons, BY C. J. CHIVERS

            Published: October 14, 2014

            The story includes a photo with this caption:

            A controlled detonation of recovered mustard shells near Taji, Iraq, on Aug. 17, 2008. John Paul Williams

            Get that? Photo proof in 2008, story in 2014.

            • AnOldAmigaUser

              In reply to Greg Green:

              I do not think that anyone disputes that Iraq had chemical weapons. Saddam had already used them against both Iran and his own population.

              The pretense to war, however, was that Saddam was developing nuclear weapons. Remember all that stuff about yellow-cake uranium? It was all that nuclear stuff that was never found, and the reports it was based on were found to be false.

            • skane2600

              In reply to Greg Green:

              Yes, at one time Saddam had chemical weapons, the press reported it and everybody knew it. Completely irrelevant to the run-up to the invasion of Iraq since they had been abandoned by that time.

              The story in the Times is just about the dangers posed by these abandoned chemicals. It didn't provide any evidence that Saddam had an active chemical weapons program that could be a threat to Iraq's neighbors (and of course, it could never be a threat to the US since Iraq had no means to deploy these weapons against the United States).

              I'm surprised that this article would still be used in an attempt to justify our invasion after being repeatedly debunked.

        • jedwards87

          In reply to lvthunder:

          Exactly. But had Obama been the one to do this all these liberal technical people would be 100% blindly behind him. This is all about Trump. How can anyone support the Chinese government is beyond me.

        • wp7mango

          In reply to lvthunder:

          Technical evidence can be easily provided without exposing any spies. Keep blindingly trusting the government if you so wish! #eyeroll

  27. wright_is

    a general campaign against China and its rising technological prowess, which the U.S. fears will lead to China surpassing it on the world stage

    Well, maybe the USA should do something to make itself more competitive. You know, like "make America great again."

    Being the playground bully doesn't help you to be great again, it just makes you look like an ineffective baboon.

  28. wright_is

    Maybe they worked out just how much of a profits dip the US suppliers to Huawei would suffer... I would think that Intel, Qualcomm and Microsoft, among others, would see a sizeable dip in revenue if they stopped supplying Huawei.

  29. Vladimir Carli

    Microsoft removed the Huawei laptops from their store. I wonder what will happen with Windows

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