Huawei says it will never use Google apps again and then walks it back

Huawei says it will never use Google apps again and then walks it back
Huawei was placed on the U.S. Commerce Department's entity list in the middle of last May which prevents the Chinese manufacturer from accessing its U.S. supply chain. The company had built up inventories of key components in advance and has been able to find workarounds allowing it to skirt the ban. The one U.S. based firm that Huawei probably misses the most is Google since the ban prevents it from licensing Google Mobile Services. As a result, Huawei's latest flagship lines (2019's Mate 30 and the upcoming P40) use an open-source version of Android and won't run Google's Android apps.

The lack of Google apps like the Play Store, Search, Gmail, Drive, and others doesn't affect demand for Huawei's phones in China since most Google apps are banned in the country anyway. The lack of Google Mobile Services does impact the manufacturer's international sales. The company has developed its own Huawei Mobile Services to replace Google and Huawei has been scrambling to get app developers to support its own ecosystem and apps are available through its AppGallery app storefront. Huawei Mobile Services will debut on the P40 line expected to be released in March. The firm will reportedly spend $3 billion this year alone on HMS.

Huawei walks back comments about not needing Google's apps even if they were available


While Huawei managed to deliver 238.5 million phones last year, at the beginning of 2019 it had hoped to ship 300 million units and top Samsung to become the largest smartphone manufacturer in the world. It finished second behind Samsung and ahead of Apple, and things could have been worse. A wave of patriotism inside of China led consumers to buy the company's phones to protest what they perceived to be U.S. bullying of Huawei.


With all of this in mind, you would think that Huawei executives would be wishing for the ability to license Google Mobile Services before blowing out the candles on a birthday cake or having a battle over a wishbone. According to German language newspaper DerStandard (via WinFuture), Huawei Country Manager Fred Wangfei said in Vienna today that even if the restrictions were to be lifted, the company would not add Google's apps to its new phones. This contradicts comments made last September by Huawei's consumer group chief Richard Yu. At the time, Yu said that if Huawei were allowed access to the U.S. supply chain, it would add Google apps to the Mate 30 line overnight.

The new line of thinking by Huawei is that it doesn't want to face this situation again at another time in the future. Thus, the manufacturer wants to stop depending on U.S. suppliers since it feels that it can no longer consider the states as a stable source of supplies. Still, it appears that Mr. Wangfrei might have jumped the gun with his comments. Huawei backtracked later today and said that its first choice is still "an open Android ecosystem." But the company wants to make sure that it can provide its own ecosystem if it is not allowed to use Google's.

The U.S. considers Huawei to be a national security threat and has since 2012. Lawmakers in the states are concerned about rumored ties between the firm and the communist Chinese government. What the Trump administration is concerned about is a law in China that allows the government of Xi Jinping to demand that Huawei spy on its behalf. As a result, U.S. officials fear that Huawei's phones and networking equipment contain backdoors that send information from American consumers and corporations to Beijing. The company has repeatedly denied these allegations and to date, no one has even been able to prove that they are true.

Besides its position as the second-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, Huawei also happens to be the largest provider of networking equipment in the world. This has led the U.S. to warn allies not to use Huawei gear in their 5G networks. While Japan and Australia have heeded these warnings, Germany and Britain have not.

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35 Comments

34. Ali888

Posts: 110; Member since: Apr 13, 2018

So China bans anything Google and like Facebook and so which are multiple companies and people don't say anything, then America just bans Huawei and everyone looses their minds?

27. Cat97

Posts: 2064; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

I am not sure if they waked it back, they simply cannot afford a new episode like this again. They will most certainly treat their new Huawei Media Services as first-class citizen and include it in most of their phones in order to stay prepared for the future.

24. ShadowSnypa786

Posts: 664; Member since: Jan 06, 2017

Duh this is Huawei we talking about they always back pedal. Firstly about Hong Meng/Ark and now this. Seriously who even listens to this apart from their fanboys?

18. BobbyDigital

Posts: 2126; Member since: May 29, 2014

Well... Huawei is trying to find a way around the ban by setting up a proxy company by which app developers can work through. If that can happen, developers won't actually be giving their apps to Huawei, but to a third party who would then "license" those apps. It was also said, a while back, that Huawei was in talks with other Chinese OEM's like Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi about them using Harmony OS and forming an alliance. If this were to become possible, they would have China and India on lock. Two of the biggest smartphone markets. And like Maherk said, such an alliance would have that ban lifted within hours.

9. MsPooks

Posts: 363; Member since: Jul 08, 2019

Huawei is a paragon of integrity. Just ask them.

5. tiz_meh

Posts: 83; Member since: Aug 11, 2017

They lie to much.

4. ScottsoNJ56

Posts: 174; Member since: Oct 01, 2017

I doubt the other Chinese will drop android and go for Huawei's since they are all competing with Huawei. Plus they will have an advantage until if or when Harmony catches up where android is accepted

8. meanestgenius

Posts: 23075; Member since: May 28, 2014

See my comment #7.

13. maherk

Posts: 7094; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

They don't have to drop Android, they can still use it but with an app store that'll be able to compete with the Play Store.

3. maherk

Posts: 7094; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Can they thrive without Google all by themselves? Not really. But what if the Chinese OEMs, formed an alliance, created one app store, and poured money into the biggest developer's pockets, and in return got the best apps offered in that store? Then not only will they thrive without Google, but Google will be taking a huge L because of Trump's uncalculated adventures. Trust me, the moment such an alliance will be announced, if it ever happened, the ban on Huawei would be uplifted within hours.

6. Vancetastic

Posts: 1965; Member since: May 17, 2017

I think they should just do it! Trump makes me embarrassed to be a US citizen.

10. MsPooks

Posts: 363; Member since: Jul 08, 2019

I'll buy your ticket to China. Not kidding.

12. Vancetastic

Posts: 1965; Member since: May 17, 2017

Did I say I wanted to live in China? No thanks, I'll just, uh, vote or something. By the way, thanks for the typical Trump supporter reply... thoughtless and insulting.

15. maherk

Posts: 7094; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

What's funny is that his supporters never told him to move somewhere else whenever he used to say things obnoxious things about the US. It was okay for them to criticize the country and it's president 3 years ago, but it's a crime now if you dare and criticize their president or the county now. Bunch of blind hypocrites.

20. Vancetastic

Posts: 1965; Member since: May 17, 2017

American politics...yeah. Like I said... embarrassing.

14. frequency

Posts: 4; Member since: Jan 28, 2020

Buy me a business round trip please, I'm serious. thx

29. ScottsoNJ56

Posts: 174; Member since: Oct 01, 2017

People like you that have no respect are what make me embarrassed to be a US citizen

7. meanestgenius

Posts: 23075; Member since: May 28, 2014

In China, Huawei will thrive, as they already so without GMS. I do also remember an article here stating that Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi were all onboard to co-develop and use HarmonyOS.

11. maherk

Posts: 7094; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Huawei's goal was never to thrive just in China, their goal was to be the biggest smartphone maker. And this year, it will hit them hard. The patriotism of the Chinese people will eventually cool off, but what will affect them the most, is the fact that their whole lineup of this year's smartphones won't have Google Play Services, and that's one reason why they were able to withstand the ban last year. They had tons of products last year that had that, and they were able to still compete internationally with them, but this year, a tiny fraction of people would even consider buying a Huawei phone without the Play Store, and for that I see them dropping out of the top 3 for the first time in years, and that's the sad reality of this whole fiasco.

17. meanestgenius

Posts: 23075; Member since: May 28, 2014

True. Their goal was never to just thrive in China. But things change, as seen now, and companies have to be willing and able to adapt. Huawei thriving in China alone as far smartphones go won’t be something that they want to do, but it is a necessity at this point. I’m sure Huawei can sell over 100-150 million smartphones in China alone. They probably already do. And with the way they have been actively getting developer support region by region, and getting developers of the top 50-100 apps in those regions, they have a good chance at selling decently in markets outside of China in the long term. Near term, they are going to suffer. Also, their other businesses (including their bread and butter networking business) isn’t suffering anywhere near as much, and judging by how other countries are going to allow Huawei to build out their 5G networks (some to a lesser extent), they are going to get along just fine.

16. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2574; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

The top apps that are downloaded off of Google Play are social media apps and messaging apps: Instagram, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Twitter, etc. I just highly doubt you would have any of those companies make a separate app that would be featured on a Huawei app store. I could be wrong, but I just don't see them pouring money into developing a separate app or be seen by the government as helping Huawei. Also, as I have mentioned before, I want to make it clear that it's not just Trump that is against Huawei. It's pretty much the majority of the US Senate as well as every Democratic contender for the White House.

19. meanestgenius

Posts: 23075; Member since: May 28, 2014

Well, Huawei won’t be able to use apps developed by U.S. companies anyway, due to the ban. But there are alternatives that are used in other regions of the world, which is what Huawei has been actively going after. They have the means to get them as well. Their HMS and App Store has been growing. And as for those like many of us that frequent this site, side loading apps that don’t require GMS like Facebook’s apps are a breeze. We are a tiny group, I’m aware. I’m wondering how the Pentagon blocking further additions to the Huawei ban will play out. Will we see the ban lifted soon? Time will tell, but I doubt it.

21. Papa_Ji

Posts: 928; Member since: Jun 27, 2016

Many of the US apps including Twitter, Ms office and Instagram are already on Huawei App gallary... The only app they have to replace is the YOUTUBE.

22. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2574; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

Are you sure about that? I just read an article in December that said none of those apps you mention being on there. In fact the only social media app that is on there is TikTok which makes sense considering it’s a Chinese app. Are you sure you’re not talking about unofficial apps?

23. meanestgenius

Posts: 23075; Member since: May 28, 2014

I think he’s correct, Dr. Phil. I remember Huawei’s App Store having those apps as well. They are certainly in Huawei’s own App Store when I downloaded it to the Mate 20 Pro.

25. Nokfan1603

Posts: 81; Member since: Mar 13, 2013

I think the biggest challenge would be WhatsApp. Hardly anyone in the West would buy a phone without access to WhatsApp. Then again, maybe it would be possible to sideload it?

2. handsomparis

Posts: 130; Member since: Jun 11, 2015

Heck I don’t think they should wait for the US to do anything .I encourage them to continue to build there own OS , that would be prolly be the only way we can tell phones apart lol, but he should be mindful of his comments out loud move in silence is the best way to go .

26. AlienKiss

Posts: 356; Member since: May 21, 2019

Good luck with that! As an android power user, all I have to say is that not even Apple can make me switch to something else than Android. Maybe the gig will work in China and some kissaz countries in asia, but the rest of the world (where the real money comes from - Europe and USA) don't even want to hear about that. If you have a job and you want to use your smartphone, you need Google services. PERIOD All these people defending huawho are just teenagers without jobs (and without proper education - history) and payed trolls.

31. meanestgenius

Posts: 23075; Member since: May 28, 2014

Your bigoted rhetoric towards Asians is tired and stale. “Real money” in the smartphone space comes from its two largest markets, China and India. There are many places where people have jobs that need to get done, WITHOUT the use of Google. Microsoft is more prevalent in business than Google ever will be. Their products and services are embedded in businesses, and preferred to what Google offers. Apples iOS devices (iPhones and iPads) OWN the “work phone” and “work tablet” segments. No Google needed. People like you that attack Huawei and Asians on a whole because of their nationality are racist, stay at home living with their parents adults, with no job, no prospects, and no future. Your lack of education overall (except on how to be a racist troll) shines through here.

32. AlienKiss

Posts: 356; Member since: May 21, 2019

I'm not racist, I'm just against their commy regime. Problem? Why don't you move to china if you support them so much? You really want me to give you ALL the reasons why I would never use one of those instead of a Samsung or a Sony? Also, in Europe, Gmail is the basis for everything. PS I'm gay, so calling me racist is just absurd and pathetic.

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