Google halts business with Huawei after company is blacklisted

The move came after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency over threats to American technology.
A store of the Chinese brand Huawei  in Shanghai, China, on Feb. 23, 2018 (
A store of the Chinese brand Huawei in Shanghai, China, on Feb. 23, 2018 (Vincent Isore/IP3 / Getty Images file

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By Tim Stelloh and Jason Abbruzzese

Google has halted business with the Chinese tech giant Huawei after the Trump Administration’s decision last week to blacklist the firm, a source familiar with the matter confirmed Sunday.

The move, which will suspend some software changes to Huawei smartphones that use Google’s Android mobile operating system, was first reported by Reuters.

Huawei can still update its phones using Google's open-source code to fix bugs, for instance, but it will not have access to proprietary changes for features like Google Assistant. Existing users will still be able to get app updates through the Google Play store.

The move comes after an announcement Thursday from the U.S. Department of Commerce that Huawei Technologies and its affiliates had been added to the Bureau of Industry and Security Entity list, which puts limits on foreign companies deemed threats to national security.

American companies must now seek a license from the bureau to sell or transfer technology to Huawei.

A Google spokesperson said that the company is "complying with the order and reviewing the implications.

Hauwei did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The firm’s smartphones represent one of the largest platforms in the world for the Android operating system. Huawei said last year that it has 500 million phones in use across 170 countries, with nearly half of those devices shipped in 2018.

Huawei reportedly began developing its own operating system over fears that it would be banned from using Android and other systems it relies on.

The Commerce Department’s decision came after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency over threats to American communications technology on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, a federal grand jury indicted Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, accusing her of money laundering, bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy in an apparent scheme to violate U.S. sanctions on Iran. Huawei has denied wrongdoing.

In a separate indictment, the company itself was charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice. In that case, Huawei is accused of stealing intellectual property from T-Mobile.

The company sued the administration in March, claiming a ban that prohibits federal agencies from buying Huawei equipment is unconstitutional.