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Google says the U.S. should rethink its break-up with Chinese mobile giant Huawei

The tech giant believes current efforts to ban the company actually hurt national security

Photo (c) anilbolukbas - Getty Images
Best Buy kicked the Chinese brand Huawei out of its stores; Facebook sent the company a Dear John letter; the U.S. government accused it of stealing trade secrets; and Huawei recently underwent an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. That’s just for starters.

Last month, U.S. mobile tech companies Google, Intel, and others fell into line and also cut ties with Huawei -- mostly over the fear of spy-like software in Huawei’s phones.

After some time to think this thing out, the Financial Times reports that Google has decided to hold tight on its split with Huawei, suggesting that if Huawei is forced to build its own “hybrid” rendition of the Android operating system, it’s likely that hybrid would make Huawei smartphones more susceptible to a cyber attack.

“Huawei actually puts America’s national security at risk by forcing Huawei to produce an insecure operating system that could be exploited by bad actors, both governments and lone hackers alike,” wrote the Times.

“Google has been arguing that by stopping it from dealing with Huawei, the U.S. risks creating two kinds of Android operating system: the genuine version and a hybrid one. The hybrid one is likely to have more bugs in it than the Google one, and so could put Huawei phones more at risk of being hacked, not least by China,” a source with knowledge of the conversations between Google and the U.S. government told the Financial Times.

Facebook also says no to Huawei

Reuters reports that Facebook has also stepped up. Going forward, the social media platform will prevent Huawei from pre-installing its Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram apps.

For Facebook lovers who already have a Huawei in their pocket, access to its array of apps won’t be an issue. They’ll still be able to use those apps and get updates.

Whether the company is trying to gain as many brownie points in advance of its Department of Justice investigation is unclear. But every consumer-friendly move -- especially in the category of privacy -- seems like a smart one.

Huawei is not going away politely

One would think that if your company is considered by U.S. authorities to be a puppet of a Chinese Communist regime hellbent on spying on American communications, then you’d kind of get the picture that you’re not welcome here.

However, Huawei persists. The company filed a lawsuit in a Texas federal court asserting that it’s unconstitutional to punish it without giving the brand a chance to a fair trial first.

In a different case in Washington state, Huawei workers were charged with stealing a component from T-Mobile’s proprietary robotic phone testing system, nicknamed “Tappy,” after T-Mobile refused to license the system to Huawei.  

Tech observers think that Huawei’s retreat from the U.S. is simply a matter of time. “The arrest of Wanzhou has put a significant strain on Huawei’s relationship with the U.S.,” surmises Yahoo!’s Daniel Howley.

“With the company’s name in tatters in the eyes of American consumers, it’s doubtful executives will waste the effort trying to win over customers who already believe Huawei could be spying on them,” he said.

“The fact that the U.S. government has effectively banned Huawei from being able to roll out 5G wireless internet technologies in the country all but guarantees that the company will never gain a foothold in the States.”

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