U.S. banhammers Huawei, blocking handsets, hardware, and Android access

The Bureau of Industry and Security within the U.S. Department of Commerce has added Chinese device maker Huawei and its affiliates to the Bureau's Entity List. That list is comprised of companies prohibited from trading with American businesses without a special license. According to the Commerce Department's announcement, the move comes in the wake of the Department of Justice's allegations that Huawei both directly violated and conspired to violate trade sanctions against Iran. These charges are covered by the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). This creates an immediate import ban in the United States for all products made by Huawei and prohibits American businesses from dealing with the electronics giant.

Because Huawei's smartphone lineup relies on Android and Google Play—a product of the United States—the company will face technological hurdles going forward. Reuters reports that Google says it's complying with the order and that future devices won't have access to its services. According to Google's spokesperson, "Huawei will only be able to use the public version of Android and will not be able to get access to proprietary apps and services from Google." Those proprietary apps include the Google Play Store, Gmail, YouTube, and anything else Google produces. However, existing Huawei devices will continue to have access to Google Play, according to a tweet from the official Android Twitter account.

Smartphones need more than software, though. Chip makers are affected by this ban, as well. Bloomberg has reported that Intel, Qualcomm, Xilinx, and Broadcom have all told their employees that the companies will cut off Huawei "until further notice." On the other hand, an Infineon spokesperson told Bloomberg that the marjority of its products that it sells to Huawei are not affected by these restrictions. 

Because Huawei also produces PCs running Windows, there could be a possibility that Windows 10 updates could be blocked for its users. So far, Microsoft not made a statement on the ban. When contacted by Tech Radar, a Microsoft spokesperson told the site "we have nothing to share."

Huawei also makes base stations for cellular networks. Just like everything else the company makes, those are banned in the U.S., too, according to Ars Technica

U.S. Commerce Department swings the banhammer on Huawei (dramatization)

In a separate report, Bloomberg says Huawei has stockpiled enough necessary components to stay operational for "at least three months." That's gotta be a lot of chips, though. Over the last several years, Huawei has consistently ranked as one of the top five smartphone manufacturers in the world. As of the end of 2018, the company ranked third behind only Apple and Samsung on IDC's market share listing

The U.S. government recently slapped smartphone maker ZTE with a similar ban. That action was then reversed three months later following an overhaul of ZTE's top management. The company was then allowed to resume business with American companies. For that reason, we believe that this story is just getting started. We'll continue to follow progress. 

Ben Funk

Sega nerd and guitar lover

Comments closed
    • Shobai
    • 6 months ago

    And now Arm’s rumoured to have sunk the slipper as well. The hits keep coming!

    • ronch
    • 6 months ago

    Huaeei’s smartphone business is essentially dead. Another one bites the dust.

    • DoomGuy64
    • 6 months ago

    Back in the day, I bought a Huawei phone. It had a WEIRD partitioning scheme that only allowed app access to several hundred megabytes, while there was several gigabytes sitting unused. You don’t do this for no reason. I question whether or not Huawei had spyware or was copying user data in the hidden partitions. ZTE was also doing this at the time.

    If Android wasn’t so locked down and unfriendly to less technically inclined power users, it might have been possible to reformat the phone, and install a port. Alas, no such firmware mod existed for the phone, or a way to extend the partition, so I ditched the phone, and I strictly use Motorola now, which doesn’t need firmware mods, and the hardware quality is far above everyone else. My Z force won’t crack when I drop it, and the battery pack allows all day use.

    Google might be the only one who really cares about this overall, since they seem particularly keen on using cheap Chinese hardware for their phones. Oh well, use a more reliable and trustworthy manufacturer.

      • fyo
      • 6 months ago

      So you’ve ditched one Chinese phone maker for another?

        • DoomGuy64
        • 6 months ago

        Well, they technically are now, but they still have a headquarters in the US and are more trustworthy. I’d buy LG if they made decent hardware, or Samsung if they didn’t bloat the OS and overcharge for less durable products, so I just go with what seems better. At least Motorola/current owners have a decent reputation, and no major scandals.

        It’s damn near impossible to buy tech anymore that has no dealings with china. The only choice is to buy from companies that have a good rep in the US. That, or wait until someone builds something exclusively in the US. (lol)

      • sweatshopking
      • 6 months ago

      If they were then the uk gov and other agencies have been unable to figure it out.

        • Voldenuit
        • 6 months ago

        Yep. It’s a stretch to look at at a separate, user-accessible partition and say, ‘they must be hiding spyware in there’.

        More likely, they just cheaped out and soldered on some NAND onto the external eMMC interface, and the permissions issue arose from the way Android handles “removable” storage.

    • jihadjoe
    • 6 months ago

    From what I understand Android is [url=https://source.android.com/<]open source[/url<] so they can just fork it. What they really lose access to is the Play Store. Also if internet espionage is the deal then it seems like their real target might have been Huawei's enterprise-level networking equipment and the phones are just collateral damage. They never really got that much traction in the US anyway but phones are a more relatable topic for the general public.

      • NovusBogus
      • 6 months ago

      Yup, this is all about infrastructure with a side of Rust Belt revenge. Just like how the US-Canada trade hardball play had very little to do with maple syrup and a whole lot to do with alloys used by the MI complex.

      • ronch
      • 6 months ago

      Even if they don’t sell that many phones in the US they’re pretty much sunk everywhere else outside of China. Most people will not buy Huawei right now that’s for sure. There will be those that will still buy Huawei out of ignorance or retaliation but those won’t be enough. Phone makers need to sell a certain number of phones to have economies of scale given thinning margins, without which the phone division will either sink or need to be subsidized heavily to keep afloat.

    • albundy
    • 6 months ago

    sadly, they had the best implementation of a foldable phone. samsung couldnt come close. too bad we will never see it.

    • sweatshopking
    • 6 months ago

    So who exactly wins from this trade war? Canada ain’t. American consumers ain’t. China ain’t. Makes you wonder…

      • Voldenuit
      • 6 months ago

      American suppliers ain’t. Huawei is (was) the 2nd biggest smartphone maker in the world, and they bought a lot of American components and IP licenses.

      Not to mention the chilling effect this will have on /any/ foreign company or country using American products. At any point, their entire infrastructure can be dismantled by executive order, one without any congressional or judicial oversight.

      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and in the multiple years of accusatory stories about Huawei and backdoors, none of the claims had been made available for scrutiny by independent security researchers. The GCHQ had been auditing Huawei’s products for years, and even they only found typical security vulnerabilities that were widespread on other devices.

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 6 months ago

      I’m wondering about why my lunch is one hour.

      • Krogoth
      • 6 months ago

      Some men just want to watch the world burn……

        • gerryg
        • 6 months ago

        AFAIK the above article is about the US saying the ban is the result of trade [i<]sanctions[/i<], not trade wars, brought on by Iran's nuclear weapon ambitions (they want to watch the world burn??) and aggressive posture in the region. Huawei was already allegedly using their various equipment for spying, but breaking trade sanctions is legally an easier hammer for the US to wield.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 6 months ago

          This is correct.

          • sweatshopking
          • 6 months ago

          Iran was following the nuclear agreement, and technically still is. The USA broke that deal, not Iran. Huawei has repeatedly asked for evidence it is spying and [i<] not a single bit has ever been shown. [/i<] The UK has been studying this issue as a member of the 5 eyes for literally years, and has repeatedly stated they've never found a single bit of evidence on a single piece of tech from Huawei has ever done any "spying." Allegedly is all that it is, and since the USA has no evidence, or at least none it'll show, this will be a WTO issue soon enough. The Commerce department can claim whatever it wants. But until the gov shows evidence does anyone believe their claims? I'm not disagreeing with what you're saying, i'm just saying this a ridiculous situation made more complicated by an american government at a record low level of trust with a massive issue with telling the truth.

            • blastdoor
            • 6 months ago

            I agree regarding the Iran deal.

            More generally, I’m suspicious of Huawei, but I guess that’s not based on much other than suspicion of the Chinese government (which I think is warranted). I’m suspicious of the current US and UK governments, too. Both the US and the UK are less stable and more dysfunctional than I’ve ever seen them (I’m not too far from 50). I’m also suspicious of Russia, Facebook, and that little dog up the street who’s just a little too unbelievably cute. What a great time to be alive 🙁 .

            • sweatshopking
            • 6 months ago

            totally with you on this one.

            also, what were dinosaurs like?

            • derFunkenstein
            • 6 months ago

            That little dog up the street is totally harmless, right? RIGHT????

            • cynan
            • 6 months ago

            [quote<]... and that little dog up the street who's just a little too unbelievably cute [/quote<] What are you insinuating? That Huwawei also stole IP from [url=https://us.aibo.com/<]Sony?[/url<] (and is using it to spy on us?!)

            • cynan
            • 6 months ago

            Even if there hasn’t been any verifiable evidence for “spying”, there has been more than allegations for I.P. theft related charges [url=https://www.forbes.com/sites/arthurherman/2018/12/10/huaweis-and-chinas-dangerous-high-tech-game/#6c57bf3b11ab<](see examples)[/url<]. And this is about economic protectionism first and foremost.

            • Chrispy_
            • 6 months ago

            I haven’t followed this issue, but as a non US citizen with minimal interest in US politics, is this just more “Donald Trump having a tantrum”?

            • derFunkenstein
            • 6 months ago

            There’s growing evidence that suggests his tantrums don’t affect policy. For example, he was going to withdraw from Syria and then a couple days later “White House Officials” said no, we’re not doing that.

            • sweatshopking
            • 6 months ago

            Linking this because of one line about tantrums

            [url<]https://www.clickhole.com/the-first-time-i-drank-gatorade-1833925111[/url<]

          • Laykun
          • 6 months ago

          Allegedly, with no real basis of proof.

            • gerryg
            • 6 months ago

            When different kinds of “allegations” pop up over and over, in different countries, it sure seems sketchy. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. It’s interesting how many people are actively giving Huawei the benefit of the doubt.

            • sweatshopking
            • 6 months ago

            the smoke is almost entirely from a single source which refuses to produce evidence if it has some. I don’t think anyone here trusts any major tech company, not Huawei, not Google, not Facebook, etc.
            We just don’t trust the American government either, and question their motives and honesty.

      • cynan
      • 6 months ago

      I’m sorry, good sir, but you must be confused. This ban is about threats to national security and IP theft. Yessss. Indubitably. Trade you say? No. Not in the slightest, I’m afraid. Hrmmmmmm.

      • cynan
      • 6 months ago

      Actually, it’s all about Canada. Retribution style. For [url=https://business.financialpost.com/technology/nortel-hacked-to-pieces<]Nortel[/url<]

    • ronch
    • 6 months ago

    So much for that P30 Pro you bought for a small fortune last month.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 6 months ago

      Was it ever going to get the next version of Android, though? 😆

    • blastdoor
    • 6 months ago

    Ironically the company that benefits the most from the is not American but rather Korean.

      • ronch
      • 6 months ago

      Or maybe other Chinese phone manufacturers like Oppo and Xiaomi.

        • Shobai
        • 6 months ago

        “#younext”?

          • ronch
          • 6 months ago

          Not really. Huawei poses a threat largely because it supplies infrastructure, not mainly because of their handsets (although that’s possible too, of course). Therefore I doubt the likes of Vivo and Oppo are on the chopping block, at least not yet given what the USA now sees as serious security threats.

        • Vhalidictes
        • 6 months ago

        Other than some Samsung phones, which models *aren’t* made in China? In a world of OEMs and ODMs, this can’t work out.

          • ronch
          • 6 months ago

          What does that have to do with this? Practically all these phones are made in China, yes, but my point is, it’s not only Samsung that’ll grab some sales at the expense of Huawei, but other Chinese phone makers as well. Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi combined sell more phones than Samsung alone. And if we go by that ‘Korean’ bit, LG is pretty much a small player here these days, accounting for about 4% of smartphone shipments.

    • freebird
    • 6 months ago

    is banhammer the equivalent of mjolnir??

    [url<]https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwiroNWk56riAhWrwFkKHdtVA-4QjRx6BAgBEAU&url=https%3A%2F%2Frare-t.com%2Fproducts%2Fthor-hammer-prop&psig=AOvVaw3ZRd8SPUmhiBKKlsh-vQWU&ust=1558465660662085[/url<]

      • derFunkenstein
      • 6 months ago

      Depends on whether you think the swinger of the hammer is worthy.

      [url<]https://knowyourmeme.com/photos/1493103-thor[/url<]

        • jihadjoe
        • 6 months ago

        Fat thor would’ve been a worthy bofh.

    • Captain Ned
    • 6 months ago

    Well, I ditched the Nexus 6P for a Pixel 3XL last year, so I dodged that bullet.

      • Goty
      • 6 months ago

      I’ve seen that existing devices are unaffected by this.

    • Mr Bill
    • 6 months ago

    Good book I just reread and seems topical right now…[url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Million_Open_Doors<]'A Million Open Doors' by John Barnes[/url<]

    • Krogoth
    • 6 months ago

    Begun the Trade Wars has……

      • Neutronbeam
      • 6 months ago

      Can’t wait to see what happens in the Senate after Naboo is blockaded.

        • Mr Bill
        • 6 months ago

        Chancelor Palpantine will save the day!

          • JustAnEngineer
          • 6 months ago

          [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuP2wvTAj0E[/url<] Thanks, Jar Jar...

        • maxxcool
        • 6 months ago

        Win! +++

      • Voldenuit
      • 6 months ago

      Sales of soybeans to China have dropped from 255,000 tons last month to just under 8,000 tons this month.

      China is diversifying its sources of soy (used for livestock feed) to Brazil, Europe and Russia (not to mention they’re getting Russian crops for dirt cheap because of US trade embargoes).

      This trade war is ludicrously stupid.

        • oldog
        • 6 months ago

        Three countries US, Brazil and Argentina produce about 80 -85% of the worlds soybeans.

        Soy is a commodity used over the entire world.

        In the near term the worldwide amount of soy produced will not change.

        Ergo, if China is buying soy from producers other than America (and Canada) the rest of the world will have to change suppliers from Brazil and Argentina and buy from the US.

        This may change in a few years depending on the vagaries of international politics but for now it will likely lead to an increase in the wholesale price of soybeans and the net effect to American farmers is likely to be small.

        Fascinatingly, the major problem as I see it is to the native savannas and forests in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay which are not currently under cultivation but these natural habitats may fall prey to Chinese consumption.

          • blazer_123
          • 6 months ago

          This is making a lot of neoclassical assumptions about competitive markets.

          It’s more appropriate to think of this as monopolistic competition.

          Ergo, the basic algebra used in your trade theory is flawed and there are serious short term consequences. Even with a smaller stream of revenue, there are probably still domestic winners and losers (so it’s not like everyone loses, as would be true in a neoclassical model assuming lower growth).

          But i’ll agree it’s the long-term consequences that are the most serious problem. This is where a monopolistic competition model is even more important. The brand goodwill of american suppliers will bring less of a premium than before the trade war as American soy is significantly displaced.

            • JustAnEngineer
            • 6 months ago

            American farmers have been big losers in Trump’s trade war so far. Up until a year ago, Soybean futures were on a gentle upward trend to 1050. Since Trump started the trade war, they’ve plummeted to less than 850.
            [url<]http://futures.tradingcharts.com/chart/ZS/[/url<]

            • blazer_123
            • 6 months ago

            Thanks for the link! That doesn’t seem like a small difference to me.

            Those are futures, so it’s not a direct correlation. But without anything changing drastically, those are the prices soy will be sold at.

            Soy is one of many forms of agriculture and manufacturing that has suffered due to rather arbitrary increases in tariffs and other anti-competitive actions by this administration.

      • chuckula
      • 6 months ago

      I’m totally getting an Imperial Starship and putting planets with quasar cannons all around fed space!

      • derFunkenstein
      • 6 months ago

      The only people in the universe who haven’t seen Trade Wars are the characters in Trade Wars and that’s ’cause they lived ’em, Ted. That’s ’cause they lived the Trade Wars!

    • PrincipalSkinner
    • 6 months ago

    Shady plays by both sides.
    Huawei and consumers are going to be on the receiving end of this stupidity.

      • NovusBogus
      • 6 months ago

      Maybe so, but like most wars this one’s been a long time coming and plenty of powerful entities on both sides of the ocean could have stopped it if they’d looked beyond short term power/money/ego gains.

      It’s not like Huawei and consumers are blameless, either. The former for obvious reasons, the latter for willingly throwing away their future for some cheap disposable crap. Role-reversed historical parallels are numerous and, I must admit, rather darkly satisfying.

        • PrincipalSkinner
        • 6 months ago

        How are consumers throwing away their future by purchasing Huawei products?

          • moose17145
          • 6 months ago

          They are throwing away their futures by buying cheap disposable Chinese made crap, is what he was generally referring to. And yes… Huawei phones, like all cell phones anymore, are disposable crap. Sadly, they are just not cheap disposable crap anymore.

            • NovusBogus
            • 6 months ago

            Exactly. Nation-states are measured by the strength of their industrial base, and America won’t last much longer if it continues down the late-period Roman path of expecting others to do all the real work. It is not a coincidence that Donald Trump’s electoral boost came from the Rust Belt.

    • chuckula
    • 6 months ago

    Not news: Intel canceling a sale.
    News: Everyone else canceling the sales too!

      • NTMBK
      • 6 months ago

      That’s just how hard Intel cancelled it, when they cancel something even the US government has to join in!

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 6 months ago

      Wait Intel July, Chuck! You have to appease the shareholders with consistency.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This