Since Trump government’s decision to bar any US private or public firm to work with Huawei or its subsidiaries, many companies have broken their ties with Huawei. It started with Google, and now UK based ARM has also revoked business with Huawei or its subsidiaries. ARM instructed its employees to stop all current contracts, pending work, and supervision with Huawei and its subsidiaries as a result of the US trade ban.
One might say that ARM being a UK firm does not come under Trump’s legislation. In response to it, the representatives of the company said that its designs contain “The US originated technology.” So, the ban is effective on its functions with Huawei as well. The reason why ARM’s decision is so crucial for Huawei is every processor of the Smartphones is built on ARM’s architecture.
The processors from Apple, Samsung, Meditek, Qualcomm, and Huawei follow ARM’s instruction set. In some cases, the companies only license the architecture which determines how the processor will handle the commands. It gives companies the freedom to do customizations in the command set according to their will. While some companies license the core designs in addition to the instructions set. This allows companies on a shorter scale to manufacture their processors under ARM’s supervision. Huawei comes under the 2nd category. They use the ARM processor designs to produce their Kirin processors.
ARM’s decision can potentially ruin Huawei’s upcoming smartphones. Google’s decision to revoke the Android license for Huawei was not as devastating as ARM’s decision. Huawei is reportedly making its own OS for their future smartphones. They are well behind, but its something they can achieve within a specific time limit.
Developing an architecture for their processor is an entirely different thing. It takes years to build the architecture and then more years to refine it. If we look at the smartphone market structure, Huawei cannot afford to go without business for even a year. They will undoubtedly lose their title of the 2nd biggest smartphone maker of the world. The only thing they can do is to start developing their processors as soon as possible.
On Tuesday, the US government allowed a 90-day reprieve on the ban so that the affected companies can minimize the immediate disruption. Since then no company has issued any statement regarding their future with Huawei. ARM’s employees are still on halt. The UK tech giant has issued a note to Huawei. It said with regards to the recent unfortunate decision the staff was not allowed to provide support, engage in technical decisions, deliver technology to Huawei, HiSilicon, or any of their subsidiaries.