The Huawei ban fiasco has arguably been the biggest story of the tech world in 2019 so far. To see the second largest smartphone manufacturer in the world fall from grace because of trade bans on it has been rather perplexing and intriguing at the same time. It has reminded us of the fact that no matter how big someone gets, there is always a bigger fish ready to chew it down. Huawei’s story has been dragging on for months now. If you’re not familiar with what happened and have been, for some reason, living in a cave, here’s a quick summary.
Huawei was blacklisted by the President of the US which restricted American companies from trading with the tech giant. This meant that key suppliers like Google, ARM, Intel and many more decided to cut their ties with Huawei. Consequently, this brought Huawei down to its knees with the giant having to cut down its orders by over 60%. Furthermore, all the negativity and uncertainty surrounding the company meant that its stocks and sales would continue to suffer in the coming months as well. It seemed like there was no way out for Huawei and the end was in sight for the colossus after it even lost access to SD association and WiFi standards alliance. Huawei’s sales have dropped down by 70% in what has been the most extraordinary case of ‘the bigger they are, the harder they fall’. However, it looks like things are about to get better for Huawei.
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Huawei ban has finally been lifted
The President of the United States, Donald Trump has been stating for a long time that he’d be open to some sort of deal which would be beneficial for both parties. Well, he went one step further a few days ago at the G20 summit by saying that U.S companies are allowed to do business with Huawei again. This means that Huawei can finally start doing business with key suppliers like Google, Qualcomm, Broadcom and ARM. Consequently, the stocks of all the chip manufacturers also shot up on Monday before eventually settling down. However, the statement by Donald Trump was not exactly ‘official’ as we do not have clear details on what Huawei can and cannot do yet.
However, Microsoft did issue an official statement regarding the matter. After an “initial evaluation of the decision of the Commerce Department”, Microsoft stated that it will continue to offer software updates for customers with Huawei devices. “We’re still providing Windows software updates to customers with Huawei laptops,” said the Microsoft spokesperson. This means that at least those with Huawei laptops can feel slightly relieved about their devices. However, the problem with Google is still unsolved and the Android supplier said that it had “no further details at this time” when asked about whether Huawei devices would now start getting Android software updates or not. Huawei still does not have free reign yet though as it is still on the list of banned entities in terms of certain business activities. This means that the licenses to sell to Huawei will be restricted if any national security concerns arise.
Is it safe to buy a Huawei device now?
From the looks, it seems like things are about to get back on track for Huawei very soon. While this might be somewhat true, there are still a lot of problems that the company has to deal with first. Just the fact that it got banned for so long leading to a whole wave of negative advertisement and controversy is going to be extremely concerning for all stakeholders of the company. It is hard to build a relationship of trust with your customers, especially in the tech industry. When so many people were left stranded with Huawei devices in their hands, not knowing if they would even get the security and software updates that they had been promised by the manufacturer, it left a big dent on Huawei’s reputation. To recover from something this big would most certainly be a massive challenge for the tech giant.
Huawei has not exactly solved all of its problems either yet. There is still uncertainty about whether Google will support the company or not. Chances are, it will revive its services for Huawei eventually. However, it is a chance nonetheless and probably not one that a rational consumer would be willing to take. The ban also probably hurt the company’s R&D department a lot as it lost access to parts from some of the key manufacturers. This might set the company back against the competitors at least in the short run. Furthermore, the ban also led to Huawei cutting down on its supply orders and the supply chain would thus take some time to get back into the full flow of things.
Should you buy a Huawei device?
If you’re in the market for a laptop, Huawei is a pretty good option with premium products like the Matebook X Pro which emulates the essence of a Macbook but with Windows. There are also less risks involved with buying a Huawei laptop as Microsoft has already come out in support of the company meaning that Windows updates would not be a problem for Huawei users. Moreover, laptops are less likely to get affected by any future restrictions due to national security concerns anyway. However, things are slightly different if you’re in the market for a smartphone. While it is true that Huawei has some amazing phones out right now like the flagship P30 Pro, there are some things that you need to keep in mind before you make a decision.
Firstly, we still don’t know what the Google situation will turn out to be meaning that Android updates are still not guaranteed. Yes, Huawei has its own OS in the works but that is never going to go mainstream in the current climate and is destined to fail. This is because Android has gone through over a decade of changes that have made it a stable and fluid operating system, something it wasn’t a few years ago. A new OS just simply cannot be in a position to take on something like Android. Furthermore, there are just so many great alternatives in the market that are arguably even better than Huawei’s devices. We have amazing Android devices on the market currently like the Samsung Galaxy S10 and the OnePlus 7 Pro with the much-anticipated Google Pixel 4 and Galaxy Note 10 coming out soon.
However, if you only want a Huawei phone for some reason and just cannot consider other options, I’d advise you to wait for a few months to see how things pan out.