Huawei Postpones Laptop Launch Due To US Blacklisting

Fresh signs of the fallout of the US blacking of Huawei Technologies, after the Chinese firm confirmed it is cancelling the launch of a new laptop.

The new Matebook machine was going to be revealed at the CES Asia show in Shanghai this week, but consumer division CEO Richard Yu confirmed to CNBC that the launch had been pulled.

Huawei is struggling to deal with the fallout after an executive order issued by President Donald Trump in mid May, that declared a national security emergency against Chinese firms.

Laptop delay

Following Trump’s executive order, the US Commerce Department added Huawei and 70 affiliates to its so-called Entity List, which bans them from buying parts and components from US companies without US government approval.

That decision made it difficult, if not impossible, for Huawei, to sell some products because of its reliance on US suppliers for essential silicon and other components.

Just days later however the US Commerce Department announced a 90-day delay to the imposition of trade restrictions on Huawei, but the Chinese firm said that the extension didn’t ‘mean much’.

Huawei is therefore still allowed to buy US goods until 19 August.

But this new laptop is said to rely on chips from Intel, as well as software (Windows 10 etc) from Microsoft.

Both of these firm are American, and are effectively barred from doing business with Huawei.

Richard Yu told CNBC that its launch of the Matebook device had been indefinitely put on hold.

He said that being on the US Entity List had caused the cancellation.

“We cannot supply the PC,” Yu reportedly said, adding that the situation is “unfortunate.”

When Yu asked if the laptop could be launched at a later date, Yu said it “depends on how long the Entity List will be there.” He acknowledged that, if Huawei is on the blacklist for a long time, the laptop will not be able to be launched.

Smartphone concerns

Huawei has insisted that the American blacklisting has not impacted smartphone sales, despite several media reports that manufacturing orders have been scaled back.

Google said that after 19 August, it will restrict Huawei’s access to future Android operating system updates, which impacts Huawei’s ability to offer popular Google apps on its phones in the future.

Google’s Play Store and all Google apps will still be available for current and future models of Huawei phones. But this is likely to change going forward.

Facebook has also pulled the pre-installing of its Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram apps from Huawei smartphones as well.

And firms such as British chip designer ARM, as well as Intel, Qualcomm, Xilinx and Broadcom have said they are halting co-operation with Huawei.

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Tom Jowitt @TJowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

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