Published en El Pais, August 27th 2019.
Recently Huawei announced that it will be going into the digital map business. A market heavily saturated and mostly dominated by Google. At first glance it does not look like they will be directly competing with Google as they are focusing on a development kit to provide data for different applications that require map services but there may be an ulterior motive to starting this project.
The problems the company has have been well publicized, with its accusations of spying and its close relations with the Chinese government, many high profile tech companies such as Google and Facebook have announced they will no longer do business with them due to restrictions put in place by the Trump administration. For Huawei this can be devastating as many popular applications as well as the most widely used operating system in the world are no longer functional on their devices. So, their answer to this problem? Self reliance.
The map system is not the only internal software they are working on. The original licence for Google to work with Huawei expired recently and while it was extended for the time being it can only be a matter of time before their phones no longer function with the Android OS. To combat this, they are focusing on their own OS and claim that they are ready to switch all mobile devices to this system should they lose access to Android on short notice.
Will this new policy on self reliance work out for Huawei? Of course not, as these are merely desperate decisions to keep their devices functional should Trump deliver the kill shot. Its impressive specifications will be meaningless if customers cannot use their favourite applications or operating system. There are a wide variety of reasons why I think this will not happening, but I think that’s another topic for another time.