Could it just be that Huawei’s luck is turning? News out of the US this week wasn’t great to start with. An extension of the temporary general licence (which doesn’t help Huawei much) was hardly the news the company had wanted, but towards the back end of the week, the news is much better.
Microsoft has announced on Thursday evening (US time) that it has been granted a US government licence to export software to Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.
“On November 20, the U.S. Department of Commerce granted Microsoft’s request for a license to export mass-market software to Huawei. We appreciate the Department’s action in response to our request,” a Microsoft spokesman told Reuters via email.
So, what can Microsoft supply? By my reading – and that of others reporting on the same news – this includes things like Microsoft Windows, Office and other applications.
This could be a welcome lifeline to Huawei’s consumer business which had been unable to supply its previously popular laptop models with Windows or any Microsoft software. Even though it continued to sell the laptops, some were provided with a Linux operating system instead. Fortunately, though, for customers it was academic to buy a Windows licence from elsewhere and install it.
The same could not be said for Huawei smartphones, with the company anxiously awaiting news of a licence for Alphabet Inc’s Google to supply Google Mobile Services to Huawei for its Android smartphones.
Google has declined to comment on any such licence application (or progress thereof). For its part, Huawei too has said next to nothing about the chances of Google being granted a licence. Privately, of course the company must remain hopeful that such a licence will be granted, and soon.