“At the moment, Huawei is barred from using Google services by virtue of being placed on the US Entity list”

Google has reportedly filed for an exemption with the United States government, seeking permission to resume conducting business with Huawei. The move comes after officials allowed Microsoft to conduct business with Huawei. To recall, Huawei was placed on the US Entity list, which bans the Chinese electronics giant from conducting trade or business of any kind with any American company, unless otherwise permitted by the US government. While it is not clear if the exemption will be granted, Google’s latest move seeking the government’s permission shows how important Huawei is for Google’s business.

After being barred by the US government, Huawei lost the rights to use Google Mobile Services (GMS) on its Android phones and tablets, which is crucial for running the Google Play Services on a device. Play Services is the key to a robust app support that Android is known for, and without it, Huawei had to resort to offering its phones with its own app ecosystem and services, called Huawei Mobile Services (HMS). However, while Huawei has attempted to market its own platform as a an alternative to GMS, that has not proved to be the case, since most mainstream apps such as Gmail, YouTube, WhatsApp and others are not hosted on its own platform.

As a result of the ban, many users of Huawei mobile devices were seemingly sideloading Google’s applications on to their phones, which is a common technique that is often used by power users, app developers, researchers and even general users to try new or unlisted app versions that are not available on the primary app store. However, Google recently issued a recommendation for users to not do so, with the reason being that such apps are not Google certified, or scanned by Google Play Protect. As a result, sideloaded apps are more susceptible to malware infections, thereby exposing users to the risk of losing their data or even money.

Huawei is presently the second largest smartphone vendor in the world, although most of their customer base is located in China where Google services don’t exist. Despite that, the volume of users in Huawei’s ecosystem makes the company a lucrative business proposition for Google, which has a monopolistic hold on the smartphone software market, thanks to Android. Lately, there have been reports that suggest that the likes of Huawei, Xiaomi and BBK Electronics’ brands OPPO and Vivo may be looking to collaborate to create their own alternate app store for developers to build on, which may pose serious competition to Google’s dominance in this field.