Published: Thu, May 23, 2019
Markets | By Erika Turner

ARM and Intel join Huawei snub leaving it no options for Android

Even if Huawei manages to switch from USA component suppliers to, say, Asian ones for parts like the Corning Gorilla Glass or cellular modems, it's practically impossible to build a competitive smartphone without a chip that uses ARM tech.

Internal documents from the BBC say that ARM wants its employees to "halt all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements" with Huawei and its subsidiaries. But ARM said its products rely on tech from the US, so it has to abide by its regulations.

British multinational semiconductor company, ARM Holdings has suspended business with Huawei, which now threatens Huawei's ability to create its own chips. ARM was able to design efficient processors and, obviously, found massive success in designing chips for mobile devices, leading to SoftBank acquiring it in 2016.

Huawei said it valued its close relationships with its partners, but it recognized the pressure some of them are under "as a result of politically motivated decisions".

This would essentially make new Huawei phones useless in pretty much all of the Western world, where Google's app store and its services are all but impossible to replace on Android.

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The United States blocked Huawei from buying US goods last week, jeopardizing ties with Google, which provides the Android operating system and services like Gmail and Google Maps, as well as hardware partners such as ARM. ARM has offices in California, Washington, Texas and MA. The US has placed a ban on American companies doing business with the Chinese tech giant, which has so far seen Google, Intel, Qualcomm and Broadcom cut ties with the world's second-largest mobile phone manufacturer. "We are confident this regrettable situation can be resolved", they added.

There's no word here on whether or not ARM is doing this out of an interpretation of the United States laws of its own volition, or if it's been ordered to do so by the Commerce Department.

Talking about the hardware, the company also has to resource several parts from other companies across the globe to built its products. These licenses are critical to the development of smartphone CPUs in GPUs - the vast majority of smartphone makers use Arm's designs.

ARM has been approached for comment.

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