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Huawei claims friction with Google won’t affect customers in Australia
A pedestrian talks on his phone while he walking past a Huawei store in Beijing on January 30, 2019. - Fraud, obstruction of justice and cloak-and-dagger trade theft -- a US rap sheet alleging systematic skullduggery by Chinese telecom giant Huawei has deepened the company's problems just as it sought to win back global trust. (Photo by WANG ZHAO / AFP) (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)

Huawei claims friction with Google won’t affect customers in Australia

Huawei Australia on Tuesday moved to assure its regional customers that US actions against the company will not impact services in Australia.

The US has ramped up action against Huawei – the world’s largest telecommunications equipment producer – over concerns that its technology may be used as a backdoor for spying by the Chinese government. Huawei has repeatedly denied the allegations.

But friction between the Trump administration and Huawei heightened last week, after the US Department of Commerce added Huawei to a trade blacklist, which prevents the company from buying parts and components from American companies without US government approval. The move could have a dramatic effect on Huawei’s operations, as the company relies heavily on US components.

Google responded to the ban by reportedly suspending its business with Huawei and dropping its licensing on Android, which prevents users from receiving critical updates.

But Huawei said the ban won’t cut off its existing customers, who will still have access to key Google services like the Google Play Store and Google Maps, and told Business Insider that it would be rolling out its own updates for new phones in the future.

Other US tech suppliers – like Intel and Qualcomm, which provide crucial software and parts to Huawei phones and tablets – have also reportedly cut ties with the Chinese company.

Director of Corporate Affairs for Huawei Australia Jeremy Mitchell said in a statement that friction between the company and Google will not impact Australian consumers.

“We want to assure Huawei customers in Australia that the US actions involving Google will not impact consumers with a Huawei smartphone or tablet or those that are planning to buy a Huawei device in the near future from an Australian retail outlet,” he said.

“Consumers with Huawei devices will still receive security updates and be able to use Google apps. Huawei will continue to provide after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold and that are still in stock globally.”

He added that Australian customers will be able to continue using Google apps and services, and Google’s Android updates will continue to be provided on Huawei EMUI, the company’s custom mobile operating system used in most devices.

“As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefitted both users and the industry. We will continue to prioritize the development and use of the Android ecosystem,” Mitchell said.

“Huawei will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally.”

Google also said it would continue to support current Huawei devices.

“We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications. For users of our services, Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices,” a Google spokesperson told Gizmodo Australia in a statement.

According to Gizmodo Australia, this could be a sign that Huawei is gearing up to separate from the Android system in a similar vein to Apple.

Huawei is said to be developing its own mobile operating system, reportedly called “HongMeng OS,” which it considers a “plan B” option should Google ever completely sever ties.