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Huawei gets a smartphone lifeline as Qualcomm given permission to supply chips

Qualcomm has told Reuters it has received licenses from the US authorities to supply Huawei with a bunch of products.

The report quotes a Qualcomm spokeswoman as saying “We received a license for a number of products, which includes some 4G products.” Reading between the lines, it would appear that licenses haven’t been granted for 5G product. That impression is given weight by the separate account of an industry analyst who claims his channel checks confirm 5G chips are not on the table.

The whole US chip ban thing was always based on much more tenuous grounds then the 5G network restrictions. The latter was ostensibly about preventing political espionage, but nobody is suggesting that Qualcomm flogging some modems to Huawei enables the Chinese state in that respect. The rationale given was more to do with industrial espionage, but on that basis then surely all Chinese companies should be banned from buying anything American.

It’s easy to believe that much of the US action against China is born of an anxiety that it’s falling behind in the telecoms arms race. That would explain why Qualcomm is permitted to sell older technologies, but not the latest ones. China has long been suspected of stealing intellectual property but, even if that’s justified, what would be the point of banning its companies from accessing older technologies?

The Biden presidency, assuming Trump’s legal efforts fall short of overturning the election result, may well take a less adversarial position on China. The FCC will be Democrat-controlled and licenses such as those granted to Qualcomm could well be more forthcoming. The precedent has been set, however, and Biden won’t want to seem to be ‘soft’ on China, so while much of Huawei’s smartphone business now has a lifeline, it may still be excluded from the 5G era.

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7 comments

    • Avatar Equilibrium 17/11/2020 @ 2:57 am

      Oh for once can we stop making the world about Trump. To add some sanity to the equation. Imagine the US banning Toyota and cutting it off from global supply chains because Ford doesn’t have a competitive advantage. That’s pretty much what going on with Huawei. They are the scapegoat for being good at what they do. Back doors yet to be proven or not. Let’s hope for a competitive Tech market, it benefits every one of us, not just the 1st world nations that have the cash to splash.

  1. Avatar Dennis Batterham I 17/11/2020 @ 9:44 am

    Bravo. I am a Happy lover of my Huawai and I respect Chairman Mao and his successors. All nations the right to exist.
    Dennis Batterham Australia (WA)

    • Avatar Ben Dawla 17/11/2020 @ 12:14 pm

      amazing comment and many share your point of view

  2. Avatar Michael Jones 17/11/2020 @ 3:59 pm

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. All nations have rights. We need to start making this world a better place.

  3. Avatar KL De-trump 17/11/2020 @ 4:21 pm

    Absolutely agree with Equilibrium! Trump’s incompetence in dealing with business with overseas companies in an amicable and win- win manner has a destructive effect globally and ultimately it’s the end consumers who suffer the most. Such a relief that the dangerous moron has been kicked out of the White House.

  4. Avatar HC lim 18/11/2020 @ 3:31 am

    I don’t agree of using the American chip or software because there always a backdoor to American intelligence service..

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