ARM cuts ties with Huawei in a devastating blow

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"We are confident this regrettable situation can be resolved and our priority remains to continue to deliver world-class technology and products to our customers around the world", a spokesman said. Huawei has offered no comment at this time.

The United States blocked Huawei from buying US goods last week, jeopardizing ties with Google, which provides the Android operating system and services like Gmail and Google Maps, as well as hardware partners such as ARM.

Long-term, unless the USA and China patch things up, Huawei might have to switch to its own operating system if it's no longer allowed to use Android.

The only competitive alternative for consumers would be to use an Android phone made by a different company (i.e. Samsung or OnePlus) that's not affected by the USA trade ban or jump ship to the iPhone. But ARM said its products rely on tech from the US, so it has to abide by its regulations. The ARM CPU architecture is the dominant instruction set in smartphones and embedded computers, and it's a rival to Intel's x86 architecture mainly seen in PCs and servers. To what extent, we don't know, but the BBC indicated that essentially all Arm-Huawei transactions and discussions had been put on hold.

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Switching software away from Android is one thing and it wouldn't be something that happens overnight, but ARM suspending business with Huawei is arguably a more serious problem for its smartphone business.

The UK-based firm has reportedly sent a memo to employees to cease "all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements" with Huawei because of "US origin technology" in ARM's designs.

The headlines and details concerning the Trump administration's blacklisting of Huawei have come in fast and furious over the last few days. Arm is said to be affected by the United States ban on dealings with Huawei as its chip designs contain "US origin technology", according to the BBC, which saw the memo. As the BBC notes, even though Huawei's mobile chips are produced in China, the underlying technology is "created by ARM".

The chip designer is another big tech company that has stopped work with Huawei after the US Department of Commerce added Huawei to its "Entity List". Huawei, the second-largest maker of smartphones and a huge presence in network hardware, is better equipped than most Chinese firms to weather this storm. Huawei has denied any wrongdoing.