Google has finally broken its silence.Google has finally broken its silence. Almost a year after U.S. President Trump blacklisted Huawei, forcing Google’s software and services from the Chinese giant’s new devices,Huawei is not allowed to enter into any licensing deal with Google.
On Friday, Google published a support article that laid out the facts: “On May 16, 2019, the US government placed Huawei on its Entity List. This government action prohibits all US companies, including Google, from collaborating with Huawei. This means that Google is prohibited from working with Huawei on new device models or providing Google’s apps including Gmail, Maps, YouTube, the Play Store and others for preload or download on these devices.”
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As forbes reported,But that carries serious risk, Google is now warning. “Sideloaded Google apps will not work reliably,” it says. “Sideloading Google’s apps carries a high risk of installing an app that has been altered or tampered with in ways that can compromise user security.” As headlines pile up over exposed compromises on app security, taking such blatant additional risks is a huge gamble for users.
Google wants nothing more than a return to business as usual. One can assume that losing access to the world’s number two smartphone maker, putting Samsung in an even more dominant position when it comes to full-fat Android, is not ideal. And in the post, the company confirms “we have continued to work with Huawei, in compliance with government regulations—and we will continue to do so as long as it is permitted.”
For Huawei, there is a need to architect a world without Google. And given its dominance in China, where Google apps are banned anyway, it has a ready market for its alternative. The challenge is clearly to shift international users aware from the familiar to the new world of Huawei’s own mobile services. In other news today, the Chinese media is reporting that’s Huawei’s App Store “now has more than 400 million monthly active users as well as 55,000 apps.”
Included in Huawei’s plans for HMS, as it’s called, are alternatives for Google’s core staples—mail, media, navigation—as well as the underlying developer ecosystem to keep it all in tune. In doing this, Huawei needs to break the Apple/Google duopoly that has been dominant for more than a decade and has defeated all challengers.
No mean feat, but for China’s tech champion there is no alternative and, ultimately, the prize is huge. If this can be done successfully, this is clearly an issue for Google as it will create an option for other manufacturers to opt for a different services framework, app store and ecosystem. Suddenly there will be two Android versions, and one will be backed by the Chinese state with markets like Russia keen to jump onboard.
Despite the ban, Huawei still managed to ship 240 million handsets last year. That wasn’t enough for it to top Samsung to take over the title of the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer, but it did manage to finish ahead of Apple in second place.
Google also made it clear that Huawei phones launched before May 16th, 2019, but now getting released in other areas of the world, are considered new handsets and cannot be licensed to use Google Mobile Services. Explaining why its apps and services cannot be preloaded or sideloaded on new Huawei devices, Google pointed out that “To protect user data privacy, security, and safeguard the overall experience, the Google Play Store, Google Play Protect, and Google’s core apps (including Gmail, YouTube, Maps, and others) are only available on Play Protect certified devices. Play Protect certified devices go through a rigorous security review and compatibility testing process, performed by Google, to ensure user data and app information are kept safe. They also come from the factory with our Google Play Protect software, which provides protection against the device being compromised.”