Microsoft Granted ‘Mass Market’ Export Licence For Huawei

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Sign of a thaw? Huawei will be still be able to utilise Microsoft software after US Dept of Commerce grants export licence

Microsoft has revealed it has been granted an export licence for ‘mass-market’ software to Chinese firm Huawei Technologies.

Last week the US government had granted the third 90-day extension to the reprieve that allows American firms to trade with China’s Huawei, in spite of its presence on a national security blacklist.

The US placed had Huawei on the “entity list” in May over national security concerns, but immediately introduced a 90-day delay to putting sanctions into effect.

Huawei logo

Export licence

That initial delay was extended again in August until November, and now it has been extended again for the third time.

In September Microsoft President Brad Smith had called for the United States to end its blacklisting of Huawei.

And it seems the US has listened, after US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross earlier this month promised the government would issue licences for American companies to sell to China’s Huawei “very shortly”.

“On November 20, the US 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.

Trade thaw?

The news that Microsoft has been granted an expert licence will raise hopes of an easing of the trade war between the US and China.

The administration of President Donald Trump had said this week it would allow some suppliers to restart sales to the Chinese telecoms giant.

A US official told Reuters it had received roughly 300 license requests, about half of which had been processed.

Roughly half of those – or one quarter of the total – had been approved and the rest denied.

One of the major licences that Huawei will be anxiously seeking is a licence for Alphabet’s Google to supply its mobile services (Android, Google Play etc) for its new smartphones.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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