The United States and Huawei have been at odds since May last year, when the Chinese company was first placed on the infamous US entity list. Since then, Huawei has only been able to do business with American companies at the mercy of the US Department of Commerce and its periodic license expansions.
The last 90-day extension was issued in November 2019, which means it is time for an extension or cancellation. To the great relief of Huawei, it has received the first.
How long is the extension and what does it mean for Huawei?
The temporary general license with which American companies can do business with Huawei has been extended by another 45 days. This is what the Ministry of Commerce wrote in the announcement of the extension:
The 45-day extension is necessary to enable existing telecommunications providers – especially those in rural American communities – to continue to operate existing networks temporarily and securely, while identifying alternatives to Huawei for future use
Although this may be good news for Huawei and its US partners, the license extension has been halved this time. An extension of 45 days instead of 90 days does not look promising for the future of relations between the US and Huawei. It also reduces the hope that Huawei phones will soon get Google services again.
Related: Huawei representative says the company does not use Google apps, even if that is possible
The setback can be attributed to Huawei's ongoing struggle with the US government. In the recent past it has been quite warmed up. Huawei has refuted the claims of US officials that it has back doors to network providers around the world. Meanwhile, the US Department of Justice has filed a rather harsh indictment against Huawei and has accused racketeering.
It is difficult to say whether the actions of the US government are really justified or whether Huawei has just become an unwilling pawn in the already troubled trade relations between the US and China.
What is the future of Huawei phones in such an environment? It seems that the company will have to double its HMS offer and find immediate alternatives to Google apps to protect its global interests.
Otherwise, Huawei could lose its prominent position on the smartphone market to other Chinese rivals.