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Congress Examines Google OS Deal With Huawei

Congress is now reportedly looking into Google's partnership with Chinese cellphone maker Huawei on its Android smartphone operating system.

The Wall Street Journal cites unnamed sources saying that several members of Congress want to look into Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s relationship with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd , and possibly request that the search giant answer questions before Congress.

This news come just days after it was revealed that another Silicon Valley giant, Facebook , admitted that it had data-sharing agreements with Huawei, among many other vendors. Facebook has now said it will shut down the deal by the end of this week. (See Facebook Back in Firing Line.)

It's not immediately apparent if this latest push from Congress relates to Google sharing data with Huawei. The review reportedly relates to a January contract between Huawei and Google -- and many other smartphone vendors -- updating its open source Android mobile OS to use Rich Communication System (RCS) messaging updates for video and picture messaging. (See Will Messaging Market Leave Telecom Behind?)

Google, of course, has had a wider relationship with Huawei. The Chinese vendor introduced its first Android-based smartphone in 2009, and is now the third-largest smartphone vendor in the world. Huawei, meanwhile produced the Google-branded Nexus smartphone for the search giant in 2015. (See Google Gives Huawei a US Device Boost .)

Parts of the US government have tried to blackball Huawei -- and ZTE -- after a 2012 report described tham as a potential security threat. In January 2018, Texas Congressman Mike Conaway proposed new legislation that would prohibit US authorities from buying any product or service from the Chinese companies. Meanwhile, multiple moves have been made to stop Huawei and ZTE device sales in the US. (See Huawei, ZTE Face US Federal Ban, US vs Huawei/ZTE: The Verdict and Pentagon Blocks Huawei & ZTE Phone Sales on Military Bases.)

There seems to be a disconnect going on, however, between the branches of the US government, with regard to Chinese companies. Congress has maintained its hardline approach with the recent seven-year component sales ban on ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) on May 9, which forced the company to close down. This Thursday, the Trump administration has said that ZTE can re-open if it pays a $1 billion fine, and takes on a US-appointed compliance team. (See Trump Says ZTE Can Re-Open... With Conditions and ZTE Fined Another $1B in Rescue Deal With US.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

jordanpaul 6/7/2018 | 1:08:49 PM
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