Report Claims Google Could Be Pulling Huawei's Android License

Photo: Mark Schiefelbein (AP)

Google has halted some of its business operations with Huawei, Reuters reported Sunday, in what would be a devasting hit to the Chinese telecommunications company.

Huawei will no longer have access to Android updates and Google technical support beyond what is available through its open source license, according to the news service, which cited a source with knowledge of the matter. The move will also reportedly affect access to apps and services like Gmail on future Huawei phones outside of China, though specifics around the scope of the services ban is still being discussed internally at Google, Reuters said.

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“Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefitted both users and the industry,” a Huawei spokesperson told Gizmodo in a statement by email.

Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold and that 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 U.S. Commerce Department on Wednesday announced that Huawei was added to its list of companies that present potential security threats, which means it will no longer have access to parts produced in the U.S. without prior government approval. Separately, President Donald Trump issued an executive order this week that banned telecommunications firms from using foreign hardware from companies that pose security risks.

“We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications,” a Google spokesperson told Gizmodo in a statement by email.

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Huawei has said publicly that it has a “solid track record in cybersecurity” and has denied claims that it poses a security threat. It has further claimed that that retaliation from the U.S. government over apparent national security risks is in actuality an attempt to suppress Huawei’s 5G networks in its international markets.

In a statement about the executive order, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that Trump “has made it clear that this Administration will do what it takes to keep America safe and prosperous, and to protect America from foreign adversaries who are actively and increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology infrastructure and services in the United States.”

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This article has been updated with comment from Google and Huawei.

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