The confusion around Huawei’s “Lifted Ban”

US President Donald Trump recently said a couple of words that pointed towards easing of restrictions against Huawei. By now you’ve definitely read, and seen the numerous articles, and videos about this. But even with the announcement, things are still not clear.

What is clear though is that Huawei remains on America’s Department of Commerce “Entity List”, thus still a blacklisted company.

Back in May, when Huawei was placed on the list, many American companies announced that they would, with immediate effect, obey the administration’s orders and cease business with Huawei. We saw Google revoke Huawei’s Android license, with Intel, Qualcomm among others announcing they would cut ties.

A 90 day reprieve (that’s technically still in place?) was announced to allow companies, customers etc to transition from Huawei tech. The complete ban was expected to come to effect on August 19th. This reprieve may have been affected by Trump’s unclear statements.

While meeting with Chinese leader, US President said he/they would be willing to ease SOME of Huawei’s restrictions allowing SOME US companies to sell to Huawei. And here everything is still messed up. Which companies will be allowed to sell to Huawei? Are they just chip companies like Qualcomm, Broadcom, Intel? Will this include software companies?

The clear thing from Trump’s statement, however, is that the easing of the restrictions is meant as a cushion for US companies that trade with Huawei and not as a measure to help Huawei in any way. It is good news mostly for American companies that would essentially be losing business.

A Trump official apparently said the ease will only apply to “widely available products”. Whatever that means remains unclear. Does widely available only touch on chips, or phones? Does it include software?

Yesterday, July 2nd, Huawei said they’re still awaiting guidance from the US Department of Commerce on the way forward. The company is still not sure if the ease of the ban means they can officially use Android going forward.

Today, according to a Reuters report, US government Department of Commerce Staff have been told to treat Huawei as a blacklisted company. This shows there’s still a lot of confusion on America’s policy on Huawei, and on the Chinese giant’s way-forward with US companies.

In an article back in May, I said however the issue between America and China goes with Huawei, the major lesson from everything here is that the world needs to find a solution to America’s presumed tech dominance. We can’t have trade conflicts affect how tech is used and licensed. Especially widely available technology.

What I still find weird is how Americans complain and argue against Huawei’s partnerships with the Chinese government. Don’t American companies partner with their government?

I am glad that through all this we’ve seen a bold, and confident Huawei with a strong CEO. We’ve seen their preparedness as a company. Including having backup plans for when things go wrong. If there’s a company that could withstand whatever has been happening to Huawei, it is this company.

They’ve through the month of June announced new phones from the Nova 5 series, to the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019. All these devices still run the official Google Android OS and are still assured of security and software updates. I really hope Huawei continues developing their own OS whichever way the ban goes. And I hope all other phone manufacturers that use Android OS learn from this situation. Like I said, this should be their wake-up call.

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