Google has warned the Trump administration it risks compromising U.S. national security if it pushes ahead with sweeping export restrictions on Huawei, as the technology group seeks to continue doing business with the blacklisted Chinese company. Senior executives at Google are pushing U.S. officials to exempt it from a ban on exports to Huawei without a license approved by Washington, according to three people briefed on the conversations.
The Trump administration announced the ban after the US-China trade talks collapsed, prompting protests from some of the biggest U.S. technology companies who fear they could get hurt in the fallout.
Google, in particular, is concerned it would not be allowed to update its Android operating system on Huawei’s smartphones, which it argues would prompt the Chinese company to develop its version of the software.
Google argues a Huawei-modified version of Android would be more susceptible to being hacked, according to people briefed on its lobbying efforts. Huawei has said it would be able to develop its operating system “very quickly.” One person with knowledge of the conversations said: “Google has been arguing that by stopping it from dealing with Huawei, the U.S. risks creating two kinds of Android operating system: the original version and a hybrid one. The hybrid one is likely to have more bugs in it than the Google one, and so could put Huawei phones more at risk of being hacked, not least by China.”
Last month, the Trump administration announced a fresh set of measures targeting the Chinese company. They include giving the commerce department the power to ban Huawei from selling 5G equipment in the U.S., as well as a blanket ban on American companies selling their products to the Chinese group.