Google has suspended business with the Chinese phone manufacturing company Huawei, as first reported by Reuters.
The move is the latest in an array of US pushback against Chinese tech companies. Only this time, Google has cut off Huawei’s Android license, a major blow that is more punitive than posturing.
Google has come forward about the issue, saying “We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications.”
The “order” Google is referencing is the “Entity List” compiled and published by the US Commerce Department. They recently played Huawei on the list, marking it as a company that is unable to buy technology from US companies without government approval first.
The no-buy list means that Huawei is now restricted to using Android Open Source Project. It effectively cuts Huawei off from Google apps and services that consumers outside of China expect inherently with Android devices.
It also means that Huawei can only publish security updates for Android once they’re made available in Android Open Source Project.
The Trump administration and US government have both voiced numerous concerns over Huawei being a vehicle the Chinese government might use to spy on American networks.
For example, US intelligence agencies like the FBI, CIA and NSA warned against using Huawei and ZTE devices, citing security concerns.
Huawei has publicly said numerous times that it is not possible for the Chinese government to place backdoors within its equipment.
This recent Google and Android setback may change the way Huawei has to do business in the future.
The company is already preparing for the worst — being banned from using Android and Windows — by building its own operating system.
However, if the US government and US tech companies were concerned about Huawei using US operating systems, then the scrutiny is not likely to decrease with Chinese-made systems.