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Shocking New Huawei Warning—From Microsoft

More Huawei defiance was aimed at U.S. President Trump on Sunday [September 8], but this time it wasn't coming from Shenzhen, it was coming from much closer to home. Brad Smith, the President and Chief Legal Officer of America’s own Microsoft has accused his government of being “un-American” in its treatment of the Chinese tech giant—lobbying for the company’s access to its U.S. supply chain to be restored.

In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Smith suggests that the action taken against Huawei should be revisited, ensuring that anything done has a “sound basis in fact, logic, and the rule of law.” He has seen this first-hand, when Microsoft has itself engaged with the U.S. bodies enforcing the restrictions. As has been reported, he explains, the justifications are thin and draped in inference and “need to know.”

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

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September is set to be a significant month for Huawei as it prepares for life without access to the U.S. tech it has built its consumer business around. And now, as David Phelan reports for Forbes, all eyes are on the imminent launch of the Mate 30 Series to see just how Huawei intends to launch new products despite U.S. restrictions. An Android smartphone targeting the international market but lacking Gmail and Google Maps and access to the Play Store seems hard to imagine, but, as Phelan reports, that’s where Huawei now finds itself.

Smith’s warning, which will be welcome in Shenzhen, is that there will be material consequences for the global tech sector from the U.S. standoff with Huawei and resulting supplier restrictions, and those consequences will hit U.S. companies hard. Before any action is taken, he argues, the implications should be carefully evaluated. It is, of course, the loss of U.S. tech from Google that will hit Huawei hardest of all, and Google has also lobbied, reports suggest, for a softer U.S. stance.

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