Google services will continue to function on ‘your existing Huawei device’

by Bamidele Ogunberu Last updated on June 12th, 2019,

Google assured users of Huawei smartphones on Monday the American company’s basic services will work on them following U.S. government curbs on doing business with the Chinese tech giant.

The announcement highlighted the potential impact on global consumers and technology industries of the Trump administration’s decision to tighten controls on Huawei Technologies Ltd., which Washington says is a security threat.

Huawei, which uses Google’s Android operating system for smartphones, said it would continue to provide security updates but gave no indication what phone services might be affected.

Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., said it is complying with and “reviewing the implications” of the requirement for export licenses for technology sales to Huawei.

Huawei, based in the southern city of Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, is the biggest maker of network equipment for phone companies and the No. 2 global smartphone brand.

“We assure you while we are complying with all US gov’t requirements, services like Google Play & security from Google Play Protect will keep functioning on your existing Huawei device,” said Google on Twitter.

Huawei denies it facilitates Chinese spying.

“As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefited both users and the industry,” the company said in statement.

Huawei said it would provide security updates and after-sales service for all smartphones and tablets sold under its Huawei and Honor brands.

“We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally,” said the statement.

China will “monitor the development of the situation,” a foreign ministry spokesman said, but gave no indication how Beijing might respond,

The government said it would take steps to protect the rights of Chinese companies abroad following last week’s announcement but has given no indication what it might do.

“China supports Chinese companies” and has “legal weapons” to protect their rights, said the spokesman, Lu Kang.

Google allows smartphone manufacturers to use Android and its basic services for free. Industry analysts say that means they would not be affected by curbs on sales or business interaction, but maps and other proprietary services might be affected.

Transfer of hardware, software or services to Huawei or technical interaction with the Chinese company would be restricted by last week’s order.

The U.S. order took effect Thursday and requires government approval for all purchases of American microchips, software and other components globally by Huawei and 68 affiliated businesses. Huawei says that amounted to $11 billion in goods last year.

The U.S. government says Chinese suppliers including Huawei and its smaller rival, ZTE Corp., pose an espionage threat because they are legally beholden to China’s ruling Communist Party. But American officials have presented no evidence that any Huawei equipment has served as intentional conduits for espionage by Beijing.