ARM has reportedly suspended business with Huawei, jeopardizing future Kirin chips
May 23 2019
A memo obtained by the BBC says that ARM's designs contain "US origin technology" and, as such, it believes it needs to comply with the ban - even though it has been temporarily suspended. The memo said for all employees to halt "all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements" with Huawei and its subsidiaries.
ARM has officially stated only that it is "complying with all of the latest regulations set forth by the U.S. government". While Huawei and its Honor phones, which is a sub-brand of the firm, all use the company's own in-house chipsets under the Kirin series, they are relying on the ARM architecture to power the technology.
Geoff Blaber from tech analysis firm CCS Insight called the development "an insurmountable obstacle for Huawei" since ARM is behind nearly every mobile chip out there, including Huawei's. Earlier this week, the company got 90 days period to settle its businesses with the U.S. companies. To make things worse, ARM has just asked its employees to stop working with the Chinese tech giant, which puts the company's Kirin chips at risk. While ARM is a United Kingdom company, its designs include "US origin technology", and therefore are affected by the government ban.
ARM doesn't manufacture smartphone chips but instead licenses its intellectual property to other vendors.
If that weren't enough, several mobile service providers in the United Kingdom and Japan have said they may not offer Huawei phones to 5G customers.
Despite the immediate United States reprieve on Huawei sanctions through a 90-day delaying order, Arm staff reportedly told the Beeb that they had not been given permission to restart co-operation. Losing Arm's support would severely impact Huawei's ability to produce smartphones and other mobile products.
"We value our close relationships with our partners, but recognize the pressure some of them are under, as a result of politically motivated decisions", said the spokesperson.
The sky has been falling recently for Huawei, the Chinese tech firm that has been accused of having ties to the Chinese government. A direct result of the ban is that Huawei might have a harder time manufacturing Android smartphones and tablets, Windows computers, and other networking components that rely on parts from USA sellers. "We are confident this regrettable situation can be resolved", they added.