While I try to avoid political commentary in anything I post online, today is an exception. As readers of this website, it’s clear that you follow technology news. With that in mind you can’t have failed to have heard about the current trade dispute between the US and China. More specifically the allegations made against Chinese communications giant Huawei. Accused of using their devices for espionage, American companies have been banned from trading with the company (and other Chinese manufacturers) by way of an Executive Order from the President Of The United States, Donald Trump. But will this have wider reaching implications beyond the companies affected?
Now, at present the ban is under a temporary three-month reprieve while companies have time to adjust to the implications. However, one who is affected is Google. This impact on mobile phone manufacturers because of Android, the Play Store and apps uses (Chrome, GMail, YouTube etc) and already has Huawei talking about introducing their own mobile OS. Of greater concern is the somewhat flippant disregard to how quickly this action was taken without regard to the business impact it would have on the companies involved on a global scale.
All of the American companies affected will potentially lose billions of dollars in revenue. It will create an air of mistrust in other territories as well. If support and products can be withdrawn overnight from one country, could it happen elsewhere on a whim? A trusted brand like Google has so much power and influence on a global level that their absence from products or markets could be damaging. It’s this monopoly that they have that is of such concern.
While China has yet to retaliate, if the country as a whole chooses to adopt its own mobile OS in favour of Android that could be a devastating financial blow. But it could extend further. China could take steps to block other Google run services such as YouTube and Stadia. While there are only a few countries marked down for the initial rollout of Stadia, China’s advanced communications network could be an incredible proving ground for the gaming service. Again this is a market that Google does not want to lose.
Right now only time will tell as to the outcome of this ban and whether or not it will be lifted. But if it isn’t, or if it is extended further to other Chinese manufacturers then we could see a territorial trade war that will only see the consumers losing out in the long run. And if Google see their revenue drop as a result, then we could be the ones paying the price with higher charges for the services they provide.
One to watch as it develops.
Husband, father and lifelong geek. Originally from the West Midlands, now spending my days in South Wales with my family and a house full of animals. Passionate about video games, especially retro gaming, the Commodore 64 and PlayStation Vita. Love pro wrestling, sci-fi and I’m an animal lover and vegetarian.
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