Google suspends Android updates for Huawei after Trump's trade blacklist

Google has heeded the Trump administration's call for U.S. firms to stop doing business with Huawei.

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Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. the world's second largest maker of smartphones after Samsung Electronics, stands to lose hundreds of millions of dollars from Google's decision to suspend the transfer of hardware and software products, except those covered by open source licenses. This is after the U.S. government added the Chinese tech company to its Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) blacklist.

Google will stop providing Huawei with access, technical support and collaboration involving its proprietary apps and services. Future versions of Huawei smartphones running on Android will also lose access to popular services including Google Play Store and Gmail and YouTube apps, a Reuters exclusive noted.

Popular Google apps such as Gmail, YouTube and the Chrome browser available through Play Store will be removed from future Huawei handsets since these services aren't covered by the open source license and need a commercial agreement with Google.

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On the upside, Huawei will still be able to use the public version of Android. Existing users of Huawei smartphones with access to the Google Play Store will still be able to download app updates provided by Google.

"For users of our services, Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices," a Google spokesperson explained.

Huawei will continue to have access to the version of the Android OS available through the open source license, or the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which is available for free to anyone that wants to use it.

The impact of Google's decision is expected to be minimal in the Chinese market where Google is banned. Huawei's European business will take a big hit, however.

A Google spokesperson on Sunday said the company is "complying with the order and reviewing the implications." Details of the specific services affected by Google's decision are still being discussed internally at Google.

On May 16, the U.S. Department of Commerce added Huawei and its affiliates to the BIS Entity List. This blacklist makes it more difficult for Huawei to conduct business with U.S. companies.

A logo sits illumintated outside the Huawei booth on day 2 of the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2019 on Feb. 26, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (David Ramos/Getty Images)

The addition of Huawei to the blacklist means U.S. companies can no longer sell or transfer technology to Huawei without a license issued by the BIS.

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The commerce department hit Huawei after president Donald Trump on May 15 declared a national emergency to "deal with the threat posed by the unrestricted acquisition or use in the United States of information and communications technology... supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of foreign adversaries."

Trump's executive order declaring the national emergency authorized Secretary Wilbur Ross of the U.S. Department of Commerce, in consultation with other top officials, to block transactions involving information or communications technology that "poses an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States."

Trump's executive order invokes the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), which gives the president the authority to regulate commerce in response to a national emergency that threatens the U.S.

On May 17, the commerce department said it was considering toning down restrictions on Huawei to "prevent the interruption of existing network operations and equipment."

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Google said there are more than 2.5 billion active Android smartphones and other electronic devices worldwide.

This article originally appeared in IBTimes US.

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