Google Wants to Be on Huawei Devices

Posted on February 27, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Cloud, Google, Mobile with 18 Comments

Google has officially petitioned the U.S. government to allow it to supply its Play Store and apps on Huawei’s Android devices. The move would bypass the U.S. blacklisting of Huawei, and it has precedent: Microsoft in November won a similar license to supply Huawei with Windows 10 for use on the Chinese firm’s computers.

News of Google’s appeal comes via the German news outlet Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), which recently interviewed Google’s Sameer Samat. And it comes in the wake of Google’s public warning to Huawei customers, urging them not to sideload Google apps on their devices for security reasons.

A Huawei executive recently claimed that the firm wouldn’t return to Google even if the ban was lifted, but Huawei quickly and publicly refuted that statement. Clearly, Huawei needs Google’s store and apps on its Android devices, especially in the short term. Huawei is known to be developing its own alternatives to both, but it will take years before those offerings are viable replacements.

And while it appears that the U.S. government is curiously and unilaterally opposed to Huawei, Google’s chance of succeeding here is good. In addition to the Microsoft precedent, the U.S.’s issues with Huawei are entirely focused on its networking dominance and the coming move to 5G technologies. Huawei’s handsets and other Android devices aren’t a concern to the U.S., and they have basically been collateral damage in the broader battle. Plus, the ban hurt Google, which has lost access to the world’s second-biggest seller of smartphones.

There is no word on when the U.S. might issue a decision.

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Comments (19)

19 responses to “Google Wants to Be on Huawei Devices”

  1. Daekar

    It's kind of a lousy situation even if you think all the concerns about Huawei itself are baseless. If Google is kept out of the Chinese market by the ban, then a vacuum is created which will eventually be filled by a home-grown Chinese company, whether it's Huawei or someone else, which means Google could have an international competitor drawing revenue away from the US. If Google gets an exception granted, they will be subject to the influence of an unabashedly totalitarian regime that doesn't hesitate to hold market access over the heads of companies to control their policies. I didn't realize quite how often that happened until I started reading reporting from Ben Thompson and some of the other folks who actually live in that part of the world. From the Western perspective that usually values individuality and personal rights, neither of those outcomes is particularly desirable.

  2. glenn8878

    Huawei Android phones are largely not sold in the USA. This is about other countries where they are sold. I'm sure Google don't want to miss out of those markets. Anyways, Google is banned in China. All Google services are banned. Huawei is not on high ground with this trade dispute.

  3. plapic

    "A Huawei executive recently claimed that the firm wouldn’t return to Google even if the ban was listed,"

    I think you mean lifted.

  4. rm

    Funny that it took Google so long to petition the US government on this. If I was an Alphabet stock holder, I would be pissed this was not done months ago.

  5. lvthunder

    I would challenge your claim that the US's issues with Huawei are entirely focused on its networking dominance and the coming move to 5g. Didn't the Justice Department take them to court over IP theft and that type stuff a couple weeks ago?

  6. madthinus

    Google needs them as well. If the alliance of the four biggest Chinese manufacturers with their alternative services and store gather momentum, they will limit Google reach in markets like India and Africa where the Chinese makers are growing fast. Also, potentially Europe as well.

    • wright_is

      In reply to madthinus:

      If? They already sell in China without Google Services. An Android phone with Google services in China is like an Android phone without Alibaba services in the USA, who cares? What is important for Google is that they don't blanket Europe, South America, Africa and Asia in phones that don't use Google services; especially if those services are nearly as good or better than the Google services in those areas.

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