According to a new report from the Financial Times Google is trying to explain to the Trump administration that it must be able to provide Huawei technology on behalf of US national security. According to a FT source, the key point of the argument is that Huawei would be forced to turn Android into a "hybrid" version that would be "at greater risk of being hacked by China, not least ".
Like all US companies, Google was banned from doing business with Huawei. In the long term, this would mean that Google can not offer any of its services on Huawei phones. In the short term, the company has acquired a temporary license to provide software updates for existing phones.
Since Huawei phones are already banned in the US, it is understandable how Google is bringing this case to the fore: a split version of Android being sold elsewhere in the world could pose a serious threat to US national security as a small leap appear. Although the sources of the Financial Times do not explicitly expound Google's argument, it's not hard to imagine how it would turn out.
Step one: Huawei forks Android and creates a version that no longer contains the Google services. One of the key features of these services is Google Play Protect, a software that automatically searches for malware, viruses and security threats. Another reason is that customers who buy phones with Google Services generally keep to apps available on the Google Play Store. These are checked for their safety more stringently than in other stores.
Step Two: These Huawei phones with a forked Android version are sold worldwide. They are less secure and are hacked.
Step Three: Someone in the US unknowingly sends confidential information to someone using one of these hacked Huawei phones. Regardless of how secure the end-to-end encryption is, malware directly on a phone runs the risk of sending information to that phone. And many people do not check which phones they send information to.
Step Four: The national security of the USA was endangered.
Whether Google can convincingly argue this argument or not, could make the difference between a quick fix to this ongoing dispute or something much more complicated. Huawei is, in a sense, number one or number two among the top cell phone sellers in the world, and when it suddenly comes to developing its own operating system, it quickly becomes messy.
Huawei said it could introduce a "very fast" custom operating system, though it's not clear whether it would be based on the version of Android (without Google services) it currently uses in China, or something else ̵
Even if you disregard Google's reported safety argument, there is no doubt that it and other US companies will suffer significant losses if they can no longer do business with one company like the other big as Huawei. Just as it is difficult to separate the Trump administration's security concerns from their trade wars, it is also difficult to separate the security motives reported by Google from the potential impact on the bottom line.
As Bloomberg states, Huawei has done so himself saying that it "has not negotiated directly with the US government and is waiting to see how Google talks develop." This means that Google's reported talks with the US government are the center of action right now.
This move is expected to intensify over the summer: Google's limited license to provide updates for Huawei phones expires on August 19.