Google begs for US Entity List exemption to let Huawei use its mobile services – report
We couldn't have anyone upsetting the Android monopoly, could we?
As Huawei takes the initiative to create its own homegrown alternative to the Play Store, Google has reportedly pleaded with the White House to offer it an exemption to again work with the Chinese tech giant.
Huawei's inclusion on the Trump administration's Entity List has had dramatic consequences for the company's handset business, preventing it from using Google Mobile Services (GMS) on its latest phones and tablets.
According to German wire service Deutsche Press Agentur, Android and Google Play veep Sameer Samat has confirmed that Google has applied for a licence to resume working with Huawei.
It's not clear when a decision will be made, or indeed if Google will get its wish. Other firms, most notably Microsoft, have been given a pass. This has allowed Huawei to ship its latest crop of laptops, including the freshly updated Matebook X Pro, with Windows 10.
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Huawei has said that if Google got an exemption, it would promptly update its newest phones to use Google Mobile Services.
Earlier this month, Huawei released its latest flagship, the Mate 30 Pro, in the UK. Due to the embargo, this comes with the open-source version of Android, with punters encouraged to download apps from the Huawei AppGallery, or a separate third-party app store like Amazon's.
That said, Huawei's strategy has focused on hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. These preparations have seen the firm invest over $1bn on its app ecosystem, with more than 3,000 engineers working on the AppGallery, according to a statement from the company released earlier this week.
It has also made deals with Western app developers and content providers, most notably Sunday Times publisher News UK, to make its services appear less barren.
We've asked Google and Huawei for comment.
Huawei has also introduced the ability to download progressive web apps, dubbed "Quick Apps" by the firm, through the AppGallery, which should bump up the app availability numbers – even if they lack the sophistication of a dedicated native app.
It's likely this that has motivated Google to take the initiative. Although losing Huawei as a customer is a significant financial body blow to Mountain View, given its enduring popularity in Europe and Asia, it would pale compared to the damage caused by a new product that starts to loosen its stranglehold on the Android sphere.
Google Mobile Services can cost as much as $40 per device, and it's likely that many phone vendors, particularly on the cheaper end of the spectrum, would welcome a less-expensive alternative.
Complicating matters for Google, the biggest Chinese phone manufacturers (Oppo, Xiaomi and Huawei) have teamed up to simplify the process of deploying apps to their in-house stores.
With Google claiming a cool 30 per cent on all Play Store sales, this represents a huge threat to its bottom line.
In short, Google has a lot of motivation to rekindle its relationship with Huawei, which was severed for reasons beyond its control. Whether that happens has yet to be confirmed by the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. ®