Intel, Qualcomm, Xilinx and Broadcom join Trump’s ban on Huawei

21 May 2019

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Following Google’s shock announcement, besieged Chinese tech giant Huawei is seeing more US tech firms follow Trump’s order to the letter.

The campaign by US president Donald Trump’s administration against Huawei as part of a broader trade war has seen a number of major chip giants decide to hold back from supplying the Chinese company.

This follows the US Commerce Department’s recent decision to place Huawei on the ‘Entity List’ of companies that are unable to buy technology from US companies without government approval.

After it emerged that Google will cease allowing Huawei to use its version of Android, hardware makers Intel, Broadcom, Qualcomm and Xilinx have told their employees that they will not supply Huawei until further notice.

The Trump administration has accused Huawei of aiding Beijing in espionage, a charge the Chinese tech and telecoms giant hotly denies.

The ban potentially hamstrings the world’s largest provider of 5G networking equipment and the number three smartphone vendor in the world, according to IDC’s Q4 2018 figures.

This in turn could hold back the roll-out of critical 5G wireless networks worldwide.

The chips are down

Intel is understood to be the main supplier of chips to Huawei while Xilinx makes the programmable chips used in its equipment.

The ban is having a ripple effect as it affects the supply of goods from European firms to the US, such as Germany’s Infineon Technologies and Austria’s AMS AG. Intel, Xilinx, Infineon and AMS have all seen their stock prices fall as the news emerged.

Huawei is understood to have stockpiled enough chips and components to keep going for three months.

Crucially, the biggest and most immediate impact of the ban will be in how it will affect the company’s smartphone business. Huawei will only be able to access the public version of Android but won’t be able to offer proprietary apps and services such as Maps and Gmail on new devices. Existing devices with these apps will continue to be supported.

A spokesperson for Huawei said that the news is not as bad as it initially appears. They said that Google is an open platform, so the only impact is to the services. They added that while Google still fully supports Huawei, as part of new regulations laid out by Trump it has to apply for new licences to continue supplying Google services.

“Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world,” the company said in a statement.

“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.

“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 or are still in stock globally.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years