The escalating US-China commerce warfare that’s seen Chinese tech large Huawei slapped on a US commerce blacklist is inflicting ripples of shock throughout Europe too, as restrictions imposed on US corporations hit regional suppliers involved they might face US restrictions in the event that they don’t ditch Huawei.
Reuters stories shares fell sharply at the moment in three European chipmakers, Infineon Technologies, AMS and STMicroelectronics, after stories prompt some already had, or have been about to, halt shipments to Huawei following the chief order barring US companies from buying and selling with the Chinese tech large.
The interconnectedness of excessive tech provide chains coupled with US dominance of the sector and Huawei’s sturdy regional place as a provider of mobile, IT and community equipment in Europe out of the blue makes political threat a fast-accelerating menace for EU know-how corporations, giant and small.
On the small aspect is French startup Qwant, which competes with Google by providing a pro-privacy search engine. In current months it has been hoping to leverage a European antitrust resolution towards Google  Android final yr to get smartphones to market in Europe that preload its search engine, not Google’s.
Huawei was its supposed first main accomplice for such units. Though, previous to current commerce warfare developments, it was already going through difficulties associated to cost incentives Google included in reworked EU Android licensing phrases.
Still, the US-China commerce warfare threatens to throw a much more existential spanner in European Commission efforts to reset the aggressive planning discipline for smartphone companies. Certainly if Google’s response to Huawei’s blacklisting is to torch its provide of just about all Android-related companies, per Reuters.
A key intention of the EU antitrust resolution was supposed to help the unbundling of well-liked Google companies from Android in order that gadget makers can strive promoting mixtures that aren’t completely Google-flavored — whereas nonetheless having the ability to provide sufficient ‘Google’ to excite customers (corresponding to preloading the Play Store however with a distinct search and browser bundle as a substitute of the standard Google + Chrome combo).
Yet if Google intends to restrict Huawei’s entry to such key companies there’s little likelihood of that.
(In an announcement responding to the Reuters report Google prompt it’s nonetheless deciding find out how to proceed, with a spokesperson writing: “We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications. For users of our services, Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices.”)
Going on Google’s preliminary response, Qwant co-founder and CEO Eric Léandri informed us he thinks Google has overreacted — at the same time as he dubbed the US-China commerce warfare “world war III — economical war but it’s a world war for sure”.
“I really need to see exactly what the president trump has said about Huawei and how to work with them. Because I think maybe Google has overreacted. Because I haven’t [interpreted it] that way so I’m very surprised,” he informed TechSwitch.
“If Huawei can be [blacklisted] what about the others?” he added. “Because I’d say 60% of the cellular phone gross sales in Europe at the moment are coming from China. Huawei or ZTE, OnePlus and the others — they’re all beneath the identical type of threat.
“Even some of our European brands who are very small like Nokia… all of them are made in China, usually with partnership with these big cell phone manufacturers. So that means several things but one thing that I’m sure is we should not rely on one OS. It would be difficult to explain how the Play Store is not as important as the search in Android.”
Léandri additionally questioned whether or not Google’s response to the blacklisting will embrace instructing Huawei to not even use its search engine — a transfer that would affect its share of the smartphone search market.
“At the end of the day there is just one thing I can say because I’m just a search engine and a European one — I haven’t seen Google asking to not be by default in Huawei as search engine. If they can be in the Huawei by default as a search engine so I presume that everyone else can be there.”
Léandri mentioned Qwant shall be watching to see what Huawei’s subsequent steps shall be — corresponding to whether or not it can determine to strive providing units with its personal retailer baked in in Europe.
And certainly how China will react.
“We have to understand the result politically, globally, the European consequences. The European attitude. It’s not only American and China — the rest of the world exists,” he mentioned.
“I’ve plan b, plan c, plan d, plan f. To be clear we’re a startup — so we are able to have tonnes of plans, The solely factor is true now’s it’s too huge.
“I know that they are the two giants in the tech field… but the rest of the world have some words today and let’s see how the European Commission will react, my government will react and some of us will react because it’s not only a small commercial problem right now. It’s a real political power demonstration and it’s global so I will not be more — I am nobody in all this. I do my job and I do my job well and I will use the maximum opportunity that I can find on the market.”
We’ve reached out to the Commission to ask the way it intends to answer escalating dangers for European tech companies as Trump’s commerce warfare steps up.
Also at the moment, Reuters stories that the German Economy Minister is analyzing the affect of US sanctions towards Huawei on native corporations.
But whereas a startup like Qwant waits to see what the subsequent few months will deliver — and the way the panorama of the smartphone market may radically reconfigure within the face of sharply spiking political threat, a distinct European startup is hoping to catch some uplift: Finland-based Jolla steers growth of a made-in-Europe Android different, known as Sailfish OS.
It’s a really tiny participant in a Google-dominated smartphone world. Yet could possibly be positioned to make positive factors amid US and Chinese tech clashes — which in flip threat making main platform items really feel a complete lot much less steady.
A made-in-Europe non-Google-led OS may achieve extra floor amongst threat averse governments and enterprises — as a smart hedge towards Trump-fuelled international uncertainty.
“Sailfish OS, as a non-American, open source based, secure mobile OS platform, is naturally an interesting option for different players — currently the interest is stronger among corporate and governmental customers and partners, as our product offering is clearly focused on this segment,” says Jolla co-founder and CEO Sami Pienimäki .
“Overall, there definitely has been increased interest towards Sailfish OS as a mobile OS platform in different parts of the world, partly triggered by the on-going political activity in many locations. We have also had clearly more discussions with e.g. Chinese device manufacturers, and Jolla has also recently started new corporate and governmental customer projects in Europe.”

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