What really happened between the US and China? This Monday, Google confirmed it was restricting Huawei’s access to the Android operating system on which the Chinese firm’s mobile devices depend. In fact, Google is blocking Huawei‘s access to its Android operating system and apps after the Trump administration blacklisted the Chinese tech firm.

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Google confirms Huawei block to ‘comply with US order’

Google said it was complying with an executive order issued by Donald Trump and was reviewing the “implications”, later adding that Google Play through which Google allows users to download apps and the security features of its antivirus software Google Play Protect would continue on existing Huawei devices.

These phones are certified so that Google can provide them with updates and downloads without going through Huawei. However, the world’s second-largest smartphone maker may be facing the prospect of being shut out of the world’s most popular smartphone operating system after being placed on a “banned entity” list by the White House, which forbids US companies to supply it with technology.

The blacklist immediately led to restrictions that will make it extremely difficult for the firm to do business with US companies. In another development in the growing trade war between the two countries, Trump claimed in an interview on Fox on Sunday night that his policy of imposing tariffs on Chinese goods was already bearing fruit by encouraging companies to move to manufacture to other countries.

The latest restrictions are likely to hit Huawei’s European business, its second-biggest market because it licenses many of its mobile phone services from Google in Europe.

How will it affect Huawei’s sales?

The move is a huge blow to Huawei, whose goal is to be the top smartphone brand by the end of 2020. So, Google may just have killed Huawei’s bid to become the world’s top smartphone brand?
 
Last year, Huawei sold over 200m phones and promised its customers that their current phones would continue to work and have access to Google’s Play Store to buy apps. The consumer business which includes smartphones, laptops, tablets and wearable devices like smartwatches was the biggest contributor to Huawei’s earnings last year. The division made nearly 349 billion yuan ($50 billion) in 2018, accounting for more than 45% of revenue.
 
New versions of its smartphones outside China would lose access to popular applications and services including Google Play, Maps, and the Gmail app.

What does the ban mean for Huawei users?

If Google blocks Huawei from Android, which is used on nearly three-quarters of the world’s mobile phones and offers more than 2.5m apps, the Chinese company will continue to have access to the version of the Android operating system available through the open source license that is free to anyone who wishes to use it.

But its future smartphones may lose access to apps including YouTube, Gmail and Maps, and to the Google Play store and to security updates. Google will stop providing technical support and collaboration for Android and Google services. Google’s engineers are now forbidden to collaborate with Huawei engineers on these important updates. This is likely to have a severe effect on their attractiveness to consumers outside of China, where many Google apps are already banned.

  • China responds to Google’s Android block
Beijing has repeatedly criticized the US-led campaign against Huawei and called the addition of the company to the trade blacklist a political move. “China supports Chinese companies defending their legitimate rights according to laws,” Lu Kang, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a press briefing on Monday.

Huawei may already have a contingency plan for such a situation

China replied with the famous” Wait and See”. Being cut off from the Google ecosystem would be a huge blow to Huawei’s ambitions to overtake Samsung. Theoretically, Huawei can try to win over consumers with its competitive hardware and innovation.This created an opportunity for local developers like Tencent and Baidu to provide alternatives to Google apps. The recent restriction could very well be a platform for the Chinese tech company to launch their Google app alternatives on a global stage.

As one of Android’s key global partners, They have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefited 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 which have been sold or are 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.” the Chinese company said in a statement.