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Top chipmakers start to cut off Huawei’s supply even as US eases some restrictions for 90 days

Chipmakers Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom and Xilinx have told their employees that they will suspended shipments to Huawei until further notice, Bloomberg reports. Another Bloomberg report says Huawei has stockpiled chips from US suppliers to last it at least three months. The development comes even as the US Commerce Department temporarily eased some of its restrictions on the Chinese company, which it considers a national security risk.

Last week, the department had put Huawei and 70 affiliates on a trade blacklist, forbidding them from buying components from US companies without government approval. But yesterday, it temporarily rolled back some of these restrictions by granting Huawei a 90-day license (read it here) to buy American goods in order to maintain existing networks and provide software updates to existing handsets, Reuters reported. The licence allows Huawei to take action “necessary to provide service and support, including software updates or patches, to existing Huawei handsets that were available to the public on or before May 16, 2019.” It is set to expire on August 19. Meanwhile, in its first response since being blacklisted, Huawei told The Verge that it has made “substantial contributions” to Android’s development and growth and would continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing smartphones and tablets.

What Huawei buys from the four chip makers

The temporary, limited reprieve for Huawei came hours after Google effectively cut it off from the Android ecosystem by pulling its Android licence, thus denying it access to proprietary apps such as the PlayStore, Gmail and YouTube. Now, other companies that provide it with critical parts are following suit. As per XDA:

  • Intel is Huawei’s primary supplier for chips used in its data centres and also provides processors for its Matebook laptops.
  • Qualcomm supplies Huawei with Snapdragon system-on-chips (SoCs) for various devices and some network chips. It also licenses the aptX high-definition codec for Bluetooth audio to the company. The impact here could be limited as Huawei builds its own mobile processors and modems.
  • Xilinx sells Huawei programmable chips for networking.
  • Broadcom supplies packet switching chips for telecom equipment.

Huawei calls itself one of Android’s ‘key global partners’

In its statement to The Verge, Huawei wrote:

“Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. 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. Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold or that are still in stock globally. We want to continue to build a safe and sustainable ecosystem software, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally.”

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