While Huawei’s smartphones are often publicized as the most immediate casualties of its tussle with the US government, they aren’t the only business affected by it. Not only is Huawei involved in the equipment and technologies used to run many of the world’s networks, it also has a voice in existing and upcoming industry standards when it comes to networks, AI, and even self-driving cars. Huawei’s involvement in these standardization efforts has ironically put US companies in limbo which why the US Commerce Department is easing up on that restriction a bit to allow them to at least collaborate with the Chinese company on such matters.
This isn’t the US slowly giving Huawei some ground or even showing it some mercy. Quite the opposite. The change in policy is being painted as a way to empower US companies to be part of those processes and organizations and give them a say in current and future technologies.
The Commerce Department’s restrictions on providing or sharing US technology and products with Huawei ironically forced US companies to reduce their participation in standards organizations due to uncertainty on what they can or cannot disclose there with other companies. This, in turn, gave Huawei a stronger influence in those organizations, potentially allowing it to drive global markets outside of the US.
That, of course, is the exact opposite of what the US wants in this matter, prompting the Department to change the rules a bit, according to sources. The rule is set to be published on Tuesday so details are still scarce but it seems that the rules would only allow US companies to work with Huawei in a limited capacity as it relates to technology standards.
That practically changes nothing for Huawei, though, other than how it might now be able to ensure its technologies or even patents don’t get ignored by the US. Whether it will actually cause US industries to become even more dependent on Huawei, directly or indirectly, only time will be able to tell.