Richard Yu, Huawei consumer business group CEO, speaks on stage at the Kirin 990 launch. Image source: screen capture.

Published: November 25th, 2019

Microsoft has been granted a license from the U.S. government to once again sell to Huawei, enabling the Chinese telecommunication giant to continue to install the Windows operating system and other Microsoft products into their devices.

Aside from phones and 5G equipment, Huawei also develops and sells laptops running the Windows operating system. Its flagship devices, such as the Huawei Matebook X, has been prominently featured in the Microsoft Store. In addition, like many other parts of the world, the Microsoft Office suite is still widely used in China.

After Huawei was deemed as a security threat and banned it from doing business with U.S. technology companies, Microsoft pulled Huawei devices from its stores in May.

On Nov. 21, Reuters reported that over 300 companies have filed a business exemption application to the U.S. government that would allow them to reestablish business with Huawei. The article stated that about half the applications have been processed, with roughly half of them approved.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith said that the U.S. has treated Huawei unfairly.

“Oftentimes, what we get in response is, ‘Well, if you knew what we knew, you would agree with us,’” said Smith. “And our answer is, ‘Great, show us what you know so we can decide for ourselves. That’s the way this country works.’”

While the development breathes relief in Huawei’s predicament, the company is still waiting on Google, which owns the Android operating system.

Google stopped supplying its Android operating system to Huawei smartphones after the U.S. ban, which meant future Huawei phones would be less attractive to European and Canadian markets. In August, Huawei unveiled its own Harmony OS for its IoT devices. Although it has the potential to replace Android, Huawei CEO of its consumer business group Richard Yu said in August that Huawei’s plans to bring Harmony into smartphones are still unclear.

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