The blacklisting of Huawei by America on security grounds is significant. Far more significant than I realised at the time. The announcements by Google, and their legal requirements to stop working with Huawei have far reaching consequences for those who have invested in their handset technology.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not a fan of Huawei, not matter how you spin it, it is a government sponsored company. The government is not a democracy. People in China are oppressed, human rights appalling, and without don’t operate fairly. I aim never to own a Huawei device, and I don’t believe we should be using their technology in our core networks without proper scrutiny

The desire for cheap goods, enabled by cheap labour has gone on for decades. We didn’t care where we got our fix – as long is it was the cheapest. The Trump Trade war with China biting, and of course the current uncertainly of the China economy affecting the sales Western luxury goods there.

I believe we riding into a perfect storm, and it’s our own making.

I do believe in collaboration. I believe in openness. I believe in fairness. As much as I don’t aspire to use Huawei products, the current Google fiasco is going to have wide implications.

  1. Huawei already has it’s own OS – for a long time Huawei handsets usage has grown using Android as it’s core OS. Now it can’t anymore. But it already has it’s own OS, or it can use Googles Open Source. The problem with treating Huawei like a criminal will only make things worse. I’d not be very happy spending a few hundred pounds on a handset just to find out I’d get not updates, the alternative being a native OS with no input and protections from Google Inc?
  • Existing handset ownership betrayal – nobody likes to admit they bought the wrong thing? The entire channel, and especially the consumer feeling they have been betrayed. Not by Huawei, but by Google. Google are under pressure to comply, legally they have too. Whatever the fix is, this not going to be pleasant – new OS, new phone, or suffer lack of updates and support (i.e. massive security risk).
  • China Isn’t going away – and why should it? Following behind Huawei is Xiaomi and OPPO in mobiles, but they also have networking products too. All the major phones have components made in China. The ban for trading with Huawei is simply trying to swat the biggest fly. It’s ineffective.

Oppressing organisations and counties does not fix the problem, it just vaguely keeps a lid on the problem for a short while. This is a mistake. A trade war might push prices up, it’s unnoticeable to most people. But when you have a device in your hand that stops working properly due to new legislation it directly affect you – and you don’t blame your phone (because then you are blaming yourself) you blame the people that implemented the rules.

It’s an own goal and it’s going to backfire.


Financial Times –