Google, in particular, is concerned it would not be allowed to update its Android operating system on Huawei’s smartphones, which it argues would prompt the Chinese company to develop its own version of the software, three people familiar with the matter told the Financial Times.
According to the sources, Google believes a Huawei-modified version of Android would be more susceptible to being hacked. Huawei has previously said it would be able to develop its own operating system “very quickly”.
“Google has been arguing that by stopping it from dealing with Huawei, the US risks creating two kinds of Android operating system: the genuine version and a hybrid one. The hybrid one is likely to have more bugs in it than the Google one, and so it could put Huawei phones more at risk of being hacked, not least by China,” one person familiar with the matter said.
After the ban was imposed, Google suspended business with Huawei, cutting it off from potential updates to Android. The Trump administration, however, granted a 90-day reprieve for companies to adjust. Sources told FT that senior Google executives have approached the commerce department asking either for another extension or to be exempted from the ban altogether. They were also joined by groups representing major US microchip makers such as Qualcomm, who are also worried about the impact the ban will have on their business.
The Chinese tech company Huawei has been accused by the United States, as well as a number of other countries, of stealing commercial information. Washington also suspects Huawei of working for the government of China — a US adversary and party to the ongoing trade war with Washington.