Huawei has reportedly lost access to the chip designs licenced through ARM, a US company
After Google, Qualcomm, Intel, and Xilinx announced they are breaking up with Huawei to comply with the US trade regulations with Chinese companies, ARM is reportedly suspending its business with the phone maker. In a BBC report, citing a memo sent to the company employees, ARM has asked the staff to discontinue “all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements” with Huawei.
ARM is the semiconductor company that issues chip designs to chip manufacturers that they can plainly use or modify as per preference. In Huawei’s case, HiSilicon will stop receiving licensed designs and other support material that form the basis for manufacturing Kirin chipsets, including the Kirin 980 processor that powers the company’s and its brand Honor’s flagship devices. With the retrieval of licenses and support, Huawei’s chip manufacturing plans are likely to be thrown into a shambles.
SoftBank-owned ARM Holdings is basing the move on a clause in the license with Huawei that reads “US-origin technology”. According to the company, supplying Huawei with the said technology will be flouting the ban imposed by Trump’s government. Huawei has not commented on the development as of yet, according to the report.
The latest blow served to Huawei only adds to the troubles the company has been endlessly seeing. Earlier this week, Google said it is cutting off Android license to Huawei as the US companies move to align with the US trade clampdown with Chinese companies. Soon after other US companies including Qualcomm, Xilinx, and Intel announced they are barring trade with Huawei and its subsidiaries. A 90-day reprieve was given to Huawei, however.
Unmoved by the business fallouts, Huawei said it has contributed to the growth of Android globally and will continue to deliver security updates and after-sales service to Huawei and Honor phone users. The company also revealed its in-house mobile operating system that Huawei has been working on since over a year.
While the mobile ecosystem Huawei has planned may lessen the impact of Android withdrawal, the suspension of chip design licence by ARM will erect inevitable roadblocks to the future of its phones.