Microsoft is back in business with Huawei again after granting license

Marco Green
November 22, 2019

On 20 May, it was granted a 90-day reprieve in the form of a temporary general licence allowing American biz to export or transfer "information and communications technology or services" to Huawei.

The senators, led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Tom Cotton, R-Ark., asked the president to suspend the granting of licenses until the Commerce Department briefs Congress on the national security implications. Doing business with Huawei poses "a serious threat to U.S. telecommunications infrastructure and national security more broadly", the lawmakers said. "National security experts widely agree that Chinese companies cooperate heavily with the Chinese Communist Party, and the Chinese government is thought to exercise considerable influence over Huawei, in particular".

"Huawei to continue to pose a serious threat to US telecommunications infrastructure and national security more broadly", they said, saying more clarity around the approval process should be provided.

The US government has long warned that Huawei's close relationship with the Chinese state means that surveillance software and hardware could easily be slipped into critical network components, and then accessed by Beijing to spy on both the public and private sector in the West. Others have questioned the real motivations for the move, suggesting it is part of the trade war between U.S. and China.

Huawei has denied United States allegations that it is a security risk or subject to interference by China's ruling Communist Party.

The Trump administration put Huawei on a trade blacklist, citing national security concerns, in May after trade talks with China broke down. In October, they asked USA intelligence officials to determine whether the Chinese-owned social-networking app TikTok poses national security risks. Microsoft sells Windows and Office software to Huawei.

In an official email statement by a Microsoft spokesperson, he said that the license has been approved on 20 November 2019. That likely includes chips and other parts used in Huawei cellphones or laptops.

Microsoft got a licence to do business with Huawei, a step that lets the software giant continue selling some of its most important products to a Chinese company that was blacklisted by the USA government earlier this year.

A USA official said on Wednesday that of roughly 300 license requests, about half have been processed, with roughly half of those - or one-quarter - approved and another quarter have received notices of intent to deny. The Commerce Department declined to comment on which, or how many, licenses it approved.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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