Huawei receiving a trade ban from the United States over concerns about spying was one of the most important technology events last year, but its full ramifications have yet to take effect. The U.S. Commerce Department has repeatedly granted companies temporary 90-day licenses to continue selling components to Huawei, which have been renewed time and time again. However, the most recent license has now lapsed, potentially placing the company in further trouble.
The most recent extension to the general license was issued on May 15th, 2020, and was valid until August 13th. That means, at least for the moment, Huawei is unable to conduct business with any US-based entities. Huawei can't use Intel CPUs in its laptops, Qualcomm can't sell chips to Huawei, and any remaining Huawei phones with Google Play Services likely won't be able to receive updates.
In the Washington Post's story, a Google spokesperson claimed that the extension had allowed Google to continue distributing Android security updates and various Google app updates to Huawei. It's possible, then, that Google will no longer be able to distribute these updates to Huawei, potentially putting the company's handsets at risk for security vulnerabilities or, taken to the extreme interpretation, render them unable to receive many new features and functionality in various Google apps going forward without customers manually sideloading those updates themselves. We just don't know what's going to happen, though, given the politics around the whole situation—it's entirely possible the general license could once again be extended, or that the administration won't rigorously enforce it down to the level of halting app updates. Many questions remain.
Several American companies have lobbied the Trump administration for permission to trade with Huawei, most notably Qualcomm. However, Huawei's fate will ultimately be determined by the result of the trade war between the United States and China, which currently shows no signs of stopping.
- The Washington Post