The HUAWEI ARM Business Suspension – How Bad Is This?

BBC just revealed that HUAWEI ARM business partnership has also been suspended. Find out what this new development means for HUAWEI, and consumers!


HUAWEI ARM Business Suspended

ARM instructed their employees to suspend business with HUAWEI on 16 May 2019, according to internal documents obtained by the BBC.

Specifically, they were told to halt “all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements” with HUAWEI and its subsidiaries because they were added to the US Entity List.


How Is ARM Affected By The US Entity List?

ARM is a UK-based company, owned by Japanese conglomerate Softbank, and is thus not directly subject to the HUAWEI Trump ban.

However, they said that their designs contained “US origin technology“, which would subject them to the US government restrictions.


What About The Temporary Licence?

The temporary 90-day licence does not apply to ARM, because it only permits software patches and bug fixes for consumer devices, and network equipment.

Recommended : The HUAWEI Trump Ban – Everything You Need To Know!


What Does ARM Do For HUAWEI?

ARM designs the processor and graphics cores that power almost all mobile SoCs used in smartphones today.

Whether your smartphone uses the Apple A11, a Qualcomm Snapdragon, or a Samsung Exynos mobile SoC – most are built around the ARM Cortex processor and/or ARM Mali graphics cores.

HUAWEI relies on ARM designs and licences for their Hisilicon Kirin mobile SoCs, like the Kirin 980 that powers their new HUAWEI P30 Pro smartphone.


The HUAWEI ARM Business Suspension – How Bad Is This?

Consumers : No Effect

Let’s get this straight, because there are people wondering if their HUAWEI smartphones will stop working. There are even people trying to sell off their HUAWEI smartphones in panic.

Seriously – this has NO EFFECT on all current HUAWEI and HONOR smartphones. Even future HUAWEI and HONOR models that will come out this year are unlikely to be affected in any way.

Short- to Medium-Term : No Real Damage To HUAWEI

In the short- to medium-term, the damage is more perception than substance.

  • HUAWEI can continue to manufacture and use their existing ARM-based designs, including the recently announced Kunpeng 920 server processors and Tiangang 5G processor.
  • HUAWEI can manufacture completed ARM-based designs that have not been launched, including their upcoming Kirin 985 flagship processor.
  • HUAWEI will be able to produce new smartphones, servers and other devices that use those ARM-based processors.

Long-Term : Potentially Disastrous For HUAWEI

The HUAWEI ARM licences and technical support are critical for the development of future mobile and server processors.

It would take them a long time, and a lot of effort, to switch to an alternative RISC architecture, like the open-source RISC-V.

Their best bet would be to temporarily suspend or slow down the development of their next-generation ARM-based designs, while the US and Chinese government “duke it out”…


How Will This Work Out?

President Donald Trump has framed HUAWEI as a national security threat, but the HUAWEI Trump ban is really about the trade war with China.

Placing HUAWEI in the Entity List prevents HUAWEI from buying American products and technology, not sell their products and technology to American companies.

In fact, HUAWEI does not even sell their smartphones or laptops in the United States, which begs the question – why on earth were they even targeted?

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In all likelihood, Trump is hoping that tightening the noose around HUAWEI will force Chinese President Xi Jinping into a trade deal.

We believe this ban will eventually resolve in a US-Chinese trade deal of some sort… The alternative – open conflict – would, frankly, be quite unthinkable.


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