Microsoft has come out in support of Huawei, arguing the current sanctions on the beleaguered Chinese firm are “un-American”.
Earlier this year, the US Department of Commerce effectively blacklisted the Chinese mobile giant on national security grounds, preventing American firms from doing business with the company.
The ruling limited Huawei’s access to important components and to the Android operating system as well as Google applications. Huawei has frequently denied any allegations of wrongdoing.
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It is a huge blow to the company’s ambitions in the smartphone arena and its US suppliers who stand to lose significant revenue streams. This includes Microsoft, whose Windows 10 operating system powers Huawei’s PCs.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Microsoft President Brad Smith says the US government’s reasoning for Huawei’s ban is illogical and hasn’t been adequately explained.
“[Sometimes], what we get in response is, ‘Well, if you knew what we knew, you would agree with us,’” Smith is quoted as saying. “And our answer is, ‘Great, show us what you know so we can decide for ourselves. That’s the way this country works.’”
Many US technology confirms had lobbied Washington for permission to trade with Huawei, leading to a slight relaxation of the ban.
The government has confirmed some US suppliers will be able to trade with Huawei – if there is no security risk – however it has not approved any of the 130 licence applications it is reported to have received to date. It is also unclear which areas the government deems not to be a security threat
The Trump administration’s position on the matter has been fluid, with the President suggesting he would be open to including Huawei in any trade deal. The two countries have been engaged in a long-running dispute, exchanging tit-for-tat tariffs on each other’s goods.
Microsoft is also concerned about the possibility that strategic, emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing – areas which Microsoft has made significant investments in – could be subjected to export bans.
“You can’t be a global technology leader if you can’t bring your technology to the globe,” Smith reportedly said.