The American rebellion on Huawei was bound to have unintended consequences. Some of them begin to come to the surface.
The Trump administration wants to close the Chinese telecommunications company from selling the technology in the United States, and forbid US companies to sell products to the company. Now, Google, who banned Huawei from updates to its ubiquitous Android operating system, is warning that the limitation could become a national security issue, according to the Financial Times (paywall). That's because Huawei, the world's No. 2 handset maker, is likely to move fast to develop its own parallel version of Android, which may have multiple software issues and be more vulnerable to hacking.
It's just one of many possible consequences that the US clampdown curls through everything from semiconductor supplies to aspirations for self-driving cars. The US government blacklisted Huawei for prolonged espionage concerns after the trade negotiations between the world's two largest economies broke down. The Trump administration has since given companies a 90-day window to adapt to the new restrictions.
Meanwhile, chip makers, including Qualcomm, Intel and Xilinx, stop selling technology (paywall) to Huawei. The Chinese firm has responded by storing chips and components and anchoring the development of alternatives.
Facebook, which has more than 2 billion users worldwide, will no longer allow its app to come pre-installed on Huawei phones, according to Reuters. Huawei phone buyers can still download the app from the Google Play store for now, but that option will go away if Google's relationship with the Chinese company is cut.
These actions add to the potential decline for US companies to reckon with. US technology companies will lose out on sales to Huawei, and the ban can also reduce the implementation of new technology worldwide. The roll-out of self-propelled cars, for example, can get a boost from 5G equipment, and Huawei appears to be the only supplier that can deliver reliable 5G sets at low cost and at a high cost. Restrictions can boomerang back on Google and Facebook, expecting their applications to be installed worldwide to collect data and sell advertising to. And then there is potential for harmful retaliation from China, which could respond to important US companies like Apple doing business there.
And if the degradation lasts (an important if someone expects the Huawei restrictions to be lifted, a trade agreement should be reached) and the Chinese telecoms come out intact, it may come even stronger, having been forced to develop new technology internally. If the American blacklist does not swing Huawei, it may come out stronger and more innovative than it was before.