Archive for Huawei

Huawei Could Serve Up Their Own OS To Replace Android This Year

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 23, 2019 by itnerd

The bravado by Huawei that is on display today is kind of surprising. I say that because via a report from CNBC, Huawei’s mobile business chief executive Richard Yu said this:

“Today, Huawei, we are still committed to Microsoft Windows and Google Android. But if we cannot use that, Huawei will prepare the plan B to use our own OS,” Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s consumer business, told CNBC on Thursday.”

And:

“We don’t want to do this but we will forced to do that because of the U.S. government. I think the U.S., this kind of thing, will also not only be bad news for us, but also bad news for the U.S. companies because we support the U.S. business, so we will be forced to do this on our own,” Yu said. “We don’t want to do this but we have no other solution, no other choice.”

Here’s the problem with this statement. Actually problems:

  • Microsoft has tried and failed gain any marketshare with any of their mobile OSes that they’ve released over the years. Such as Windows Phone, Windows, Mobile, and Windows CE.
  • Nokia went up in flames trying to get people to pay attention their Symbian OS.
  • Even Samsung couldn’t get anyone to care about Tizen. Now it runs smart TVs. Not that anyone cares.

The fact is that we live in a world where you’re on Team Android or Team iOS if you have a smartphone. Not to mention that most desktops and laptops run Windows with some Macs and Linux boxes tossed in the mix for fun. And whatever Huawei has as a “plan b” would have to be incredibly compelling to get people to switch away from any of those. The thing is, it could be the best OS in the history of the universe and people won’t switch. This is assuming that it even exists of course. Thus I think this is really posturing and bravado rather than a legitimate path forward for the troubled company.

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ARM Cuts Off Huawei From Its Chip Tech

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 22, 2019 by itnerd

The BBC is reporting that chipmaker ARM has cut off Huawei from access to their tech:

ARM instructed employees to halt “all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements” with Huawei and its subsidiaries to comply with a recent US trade clampdown.

ARM’s designs form the basis of most mobile device processors worldwide.

In a company memo, it said its designs contained “US origin technology”.

As a consequence, it believes it is affected by the Trump administration’s ban.

This is a huge hit to Huawei because ARM designs form the backbone of most modern smartphone processors. Apple processors for example are based on ARM designs. So I can’t see how Huawei moves forward without ARM being in the mix. Huawei has already said that this is a non-issue for them. But I don’t buy that and neither does anyone else. At some point all these companies who are cutting ties with Huawei will eventually cause the company to tap out and cry uncle. The question is how long will that take?

Huawei Gets 90 Day Reprieve From US Ban

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 21, 2019 by itnerd

new report from Reuters is saying that the U.S. Commerce Department will allow Huawei to purchase American-made goods in order to maintain existing networks and provide software updates to existing Huawei handsets. The temporary license lasts until August 19 and comes after an executive order that effectively bans Huawei from the US. But Huawei says that this doesn’t mean a lot:

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei on Tuesday told Chinese state media that the reprieve bore little meaning for the company as it had been making preparations for such a scenario.

“The U.S. government’s actions at the moment underestimate our capabilities,” Ren said in an interview with CCTV, according to a transcript published by the Chinese state broadcaster.

So two things that pop to mind. First, one has to wonder what Huawei had to say about this is entrenched in fact rather than bravado. Second, I wonder if the US government got some severe blowback by banning this company? Or did this ban have unintended effects that they did not see coming? I guess we’ll get the answer to both those questions soon enough.

Huawei Says Software Updates Still Inbound Says Troubled Company…. While New Bans Hit The Company

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 20, 2019 by itnerd

Late last night I reported that Hwawei was cut off by Google because of the executive order signed by US President Donald Trump last week. Now Huawei has come out with a statement saying that security updates for their Android phones are still coming:

Huawei said on Monday it would support its smartphones and tablets by providing security updates and services, after the ban by Google, owned by Alphabet Inc.

But the firm did not say what would happen with phones it sells in the future, which are unlikely to have access to Google’s popular services, including Gmail, YouTube and maps unless a special licence is obtained.

So that’s great for everyone who just bought a P30 Pro. But it doesn’t give one much of an incentive to buy anything from the company in the future. Assuming that they can sell anything in the future because it now seems that other companies are cutting Huawei off:

Apple Face ID parts supplier Lumentum Holdings Inc followed Google on Monday in clamping down on the business it does with Huawei Technologies , after U.S. President Donald Trump imposed a ban on the Chinese firm on national security grounds.

And:

While most U.S. suppliers have yet to issue statements on their position on the Huawei ban, Bloomberg reported that Intel Corp, Qualcomm Inc, Xilinx Inc and Broadcom Inc have all now told their employees they will not supply Huawei until further notice.

Xilinx said the company was aware of the Denial Order issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce and is cooperating. Other companies did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

That’s a major part of Huawei’s supply chain right there. Without those parts, you have to wonder how long the company can survive. Though they say that they have a backup plan:

Founder and chief executive Ren Zhengfei said on Saturday that Huawei’s growth “may slow, but only slightly” due to the U.S. restrictions and that it would be “fine” even if Qualcomm and other American suppliers would not sell it chips.

Huawei’s chip arm HiSilicon had been secretly developing back-up products for years in anticipation of the unlikely scenario that Huawei may one day be unable to obtain advanced chips and technology from the United States, President He Tingbo said in a letter to staff dated May 17.

All I have to say is good luck with that as I really can’t see how their in house gear will make up for the fact that the stuff that every wants to see in a modern smartphone is stuff that Huawei can’t get. But I suppose anything is possible. We’ll just have to watch and see what happens next.

Google Parts Ways With Huawei

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 19, 2019 by itnerd

It seems that the executive order signed by Trump to keep Huawei out of the US seems to be moving forward. Word on the street is that Google has cut ties with the Chinese phone maker:

Alphabet Inc’s Google has suspended business with Huawei that requires the transfer of hardware and software products except those covered by open source licenses, a source close to the matter told Reuters on Sunday, in a blow to the Chinese technology company that the U.S. government has sought to blacklist around the world.

Huawei Technologies Co Ltd will immediately lose access to updates to the Android operating system, and the next version of its smartphones outside of China will also lose access to popular applications and services including the Google Play Store and Gmail app… Huawei will continue to have access to the version of the Android operating system available through the open source license that is freely open to anyone who wishes to use it. But Google will stop providing any technical support and collaboration for Android and Google services to Huawei going forward, the source said.

Well, the US gave ZTE similar treatment a year or two ago. And that only lasted a short time before a deal was cut to keep them alive. Is that what’s in the cards this time around? Who knows. But it’s clearly message sending time to Huawei.

 

Huawei Willing To Sign “No Spy” Agreements With Governments To Keep Selling Gear To Them

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 14, 2019 by itnerd

Yahoo! Finance is reporting that Huawei who has been linked with Chinese spying is now willing to sign “no spy” agreements that would allow them to keep selling their gear into countries like the US, UK, Canada and others who have concerns about their potential spying activities:

“We are willing to sign no-spy agreements with governments, including the UK government, to commit ourselves to making our equipment meet the no-spy, no-backdoors standard,” Huawei chairman Liang Hua told reporters in London via an interpreter.

“Despite the fact Huawei has its headquarters in China, we are actually a globally operating company,” he said. “Where we are operating globally we are committed to be compliant with the locally applicable laws and regulations in that country.

Let’s think about this for a second. The fact that Huawei is willing to sign an agreement saying that they won’t spy on anyone…. Which to be frank shouldn’t even be a thought shows how much these spying claims have hurt the company. Having said that, while I am prepared to be proven wrong, I can’t see any nation that has concerns with Huawei taking them up on this offer.

Vodafone Found Hidden Backdoors in Huawei Equipment… And The US Won’t Play Nice With Those Who Use Huawei Gear

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 30, 2019 by itnerd

From the “this won’t help your public image” department comes this Bloomberg story that Vodafone which is one of Europe’s largest telcos found vulnerabilities going back years with equipment supplied by Shenzhen-based Huawei for the telco’s Italian business:

While Vodafone says the issues were resolved, the revelation may further damage the reputation of a major symbol of China’s global technology prowess. Europe’s biggest phone company identified hidden backdoors in the software that could have given Huawei unauthorized access to the carrier’s fixed-line network in Italy, a system that provides internet service to millions of homes and businesses, according to Vodafone’s security briefing documents from 2009 and 2011 seen by Bloomberg, as well as people involved in the situation.

Okay. So this is from a while ago. I will give you that. But it is instructive as it shows that there is some evidence that at least some of the accusations that the US and others have made about Huawei have some merit.

Speaking of the US, the folks in Washington does not see any distinction between core and non-core parts of 5G networks and will reassess sharing information with any allies which use equipment made Huawei, a U.S. cybersecurity official said on Monday:

“It is the United States’ position that putting Huawei or any other untrustworthy vendor in any part of the 5G telecommunications network is a risk,” said Robert Strayer, deputy assistant secretary for cyber, international communications and information policy at the State Department. “If other countries insert and allow untrusted vendors to build out and become the vendors for their 5G networks we will have to reassess the ability for us to share information and be connected with them in the ways that we are today,” he said.

Clearly this is meant to pressure countries into not using Huawei gear. I guess this is being served up because of reports that the UK his given Huawei the go-ahead to supply equipment for the UK 5G data network as long as it’s in “non-core” parts such as antennas. It will be interesting to see if that decision gets reversed now that this edict is out. And now that the discovery of backdoors is more than just theory.

UPDATE: Vodafone is now denying the report… The plot thickens.