In what appears to be the biggest blow to its business following the loss of its Android license, Huawei’s chip supplier ARM is now close to suspending their operations with the Chinese company. According to an internal company memo, ARM is advising its employees to stop all contracts, support and pending agreements with Huawei, owing to the US originality of its technologies.
The latest move from ARM comes as a shock since Huawei is dependent on ARM’s architecture to make its own Hisilicon Kirin processors. ARM believes the company is also affected by the US Government’s executive order of blacklisting Huawei, as has been evident from the internal documents obtained by BBC. While ARM doesn’t manufacture its own processors, it is responsible for licensing semiconductor technologies. Huawei isn’t the only client of ARM’s technology like Apple, Samsung and even Qualcomm depend on the chip designed to manufacture their A-series, Exynos and Snapdragon chipsets respectively.
It’s believed company memo was released internally on May 18 which revealed the details of the export ban and how ARM is also supposed to follow through. ARM advised its staff to sent a note to Huawei that due to the situation in hand, they’re forced to no longer provide “support, delivery technology (whether software, code, or other updates), engage in technical discussions, or otherwise discuss technical matters with Huawei, HiSilicon or any of the other named entities”.
If ARM suspends its chip design support for Huawei, the Chinese company will no longer be able to develop its own chips to power future smartphones. What this means is there will be no new Kirin chips which translate to no new smartphones, since even Intel and Qualcomm have withdrawn their support to Huawei. It’s important to note that HiSilicon’s chips are built using underlying technology created by ARM and the latest ban will restrict Huawei from asking ARM for assistance in future component development.
While ARM is headquartered in Cambridge, UK, it has offices in California, Washington, Arizona, Texas and Massachusetts in the US, employing close to 6,000 workers across its 8 offices. The report further entails that the ban extends to ARM’s China division which ARM owns a 49 percent stake in.
Meanwhile, Huawei seems to be moving on from being ditched by Google as it’s closing in on a partnership with Portugal-based Aptoide App Store to replace Google Play Store. The partnership could bode well for Huawei since Aptoide has a library of 900,000 apps on its store with over 200 million users. If you owned a Huawei or Honor phone, however, you need not worry about the updates as Huawei has promised security updates till the end of your phone’s cycle.