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Google suspends Huawei's Android license, forces switch to open-source version

Following newly-authorized rules by the Trump administration, Google has reportedly terminated Huawei's Android license, forcing it to move to the Android Open Source Project.

The change won't immediately affect owners of Huawei phones, since they'll be able to update individual apps through the Google Play Store, Reuters noted. The company will however have to use its own system to push broader OS updates, and only once they've been published through AOSP.

It may cut Huawei off from key apps and services such as Gmail, YouTube, and even Chrome. Most Google mobile apps are already banned in Huawei's Chinese homeland, but they are licensed for devices in markets like Europe.

The company has reportedly spent several years preparing for such a contingency, and is even using some of that fallback technology in Chinese versions of its phones. Westerners, though, are unlikely to be happy without access to services many consider cornerstones of the internet.

Last week the U.S. Commerce Department added Huawei and 70 affiliates to its "Entity List," preventing it from buying from American businesses without a license demonstrating there's no national security risk. Simultaneously, President Donald Trump signed an executive order blocking corporations from using telecoms equipment from firms deemed a national security risk — such as Huawei and ZTE.

The Trump administration has expressed worries that Huawei's ties with the Chinese government could lead to backdoors, and indeed a report recently claimed the discovery of such activity in the Netherlands. Huawei has denied any such threat, and argued U.S. actions are really meant to thwart Chinese business.

Indeed the U.S. bans could kick a leg out from under Huawei, since until this month it was dependent on American suppliers like Qualcomm. That could give companies like Apple a better chance in China, even if it will still have to deal with price obstacles and local brands like Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo.