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Google to cut ties with Huawei as it's set to restrict access to Android

Google said it was complying with a US government order.

Image: Andre M. Chang/PA Images

US INTERNET GIANT Google has said it is beginning to cut ties with China’s Huawei.

It comes in the midst of a trade war with Beijing, as President Donald Trump has barred US companies from engaging in telecommunications trade with foreign companies said to threaten American national security.

This measure from the Trump administration specifically targets Huawei. The Chinese telecoms giant is in Washington’s sights and was listed by the Commerce Department among firms with which American companies can only engage in trade after obtaining the green light from the authorities.

The ban includes technology sharing.

“We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications,” a Google spokesperson told AFP.

Implications

The move could have dramatic implications since Google, like all tech companies, must collaborate with smartphone makers to ensure its systems are compatible with their devices.

Google will have to halt business activities with Huawei that involve transfer of hardware, software and technical services that are not publicly available.

This will mean Huawei will only be able to use the open source version of Android – the operating system from Google that powers most of the world’s smartphones – a source close to the matter told AFP.

Huawei will no longer have access to Google’s proprietary apps and services, such as the Gmail email service.

Huawei did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Huawei is a rapidly expanding leader in 5G technology but remains dependent on foreign suppliers.

It buys about $67 billion worth of components each year, including about $11 billion from US suppliers, according to The Nikkei business daily.

Huawei is the target of an intense campaign by Washington, which has been trying to persuade allies not to allow China a role in building next-generation 5G mobile networks.

This has included Ireland, with US officials raising their concerns with Tánaiste Simon Coveney and senior civil servants

US government agencies are already banned from buying equipment from Huawei.

Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei said Saturday that “We have not done anything which violates the law,” adding the US measures would have a limited impact.

With reporting from Seán Murray

- © AFP 2019 

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