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Huawei Ban: Microsoft Quiet on Potential Windows 10 Ban, Intel, Qualcomm and WD Join List

By: Shouvik Das

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Last Updated: May 20, 2019, 22:26 IST

Huawei Ban: Microsoft Quiet on Potential Windows 10 Ban, Intel, Qualcomm and WD Join List

While the ban of support of Huawei products by Intel and Qualcomm are less severe, a potential Microsoft ban would leave Huawei's expensive laptops practically unusable.

After Google succumbing to pressure from the United States government and banning Huawei from the official Android ecosystem, questions have been rife about whether Microsoft would take the same route with Windows 10. Alongside Android smartphones, Huawei also manufactures laptops, most notably in the premium ultrabook segment, based on the Windows 10 operating system. As a result, if Microsoft decides to ban Huawei from its ecosystem after pressure from the US government, the Chinese electronics giant will be left with an even bigger problem at hand.

While Microsoft has not confirmed such a move, neither has it denied the possibility, categorically or otherwise, as revealed in a TechRadar report. Windows 10 powers an overwhelmingly large number of PCs across the world, and Microsoft's support is sacrosanct in order to run these PCs. Windows 10 is also rather susceptible to frequent cyber attacks, making Microsoft's regular security updates imperative for any laptop or desktop to remain functional. If at all Microsoft does end up withdrawing support for Huawei laptops, the company will need to look at alternate options, and potentially lose any market share that it holds in the PC industry right now.

However, while Microsoft's pending decision would spell doom for Huawei, it is already staring down a bleak alleyway. According to a Bloomberg report, Intel and Western Digital are among the most notable companies, alongside fellow chipmakers Qualcomm and Micron, to have banned Huawei from receiving their components and services already. This practically leaves Huawei with a lot of thought on how to go about its laptops business, seeing that it majorly sources components from Intel and WD for processors and storage. While a separate Bloomberg report has suggested that Huawei has stockpiled chips in its inventory to prepare for such a ban from US organisations, it reportedly has enough resources for only three months, beyond which the prospects look bleak.

While Huawei has its own chipmaking division with HiSilicon, the onus will lie on which operating systems remain available for them to use. Any hardware-software integration will require mutual support, while usability and viability for customers will depend on apps and services. The open-source Linux ecosystem, while usable, remains by far the second choice among most PC buyers, and will hardly make Huawei's case, in case Microsoft goes for the jugular, too. Huawei is said to be developing in-house alternatives to both Android and Windows in fear of such a ban, but that hardly makes for an ideal scenario, since its proprietary ecosystem would not have support for major services, at least in the immediate future.

Reports have also stated that after USA, the European Union may also join the war against Huawei, with several companies also expected to be in line to ban Huawei from receiving supplies and support. The upcoming days should reveal more details regarding companies blacklisting Huawei after security and data surveillance concerns refused to die down, which is when the entire picture of Huawei's immediate future would become clearer.