Huawei found a new ally on Sunday. Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, Brad Smith, told Bloomberg Businessweek that he believes the U.S. government has treated the Chinese telecommunications juggernaut unfairly over the last few months.
A brief recap: the U.S. Department of Commerce blacklisted Huawei in May but gave American tech companies provisional licenses to continue selling to the company until August. There were still certain sales restrictions, however, that companies attempted to work around. Then, a program through which U.S. companies could apply to do business with Huawei reportedly stalled out in late August.
It's not surprising for U.S. companies to complain about restrictions on selling to Huawei. The company purchases many components from U.S. companies, and before it announced its HongMeng platform, it relied on the Windows and Android operating systems. Abruptly losing a major buyer like Huawei was bound to negatively affect the companies who supplied it.
Smith's problem goes beyond that. He told Bloomberg Businessweek: “To tell a tech company that it can sell products, but not buy an operating system or chips, is like telling a hotel company that it can open its doors, but not put beds in its hotel rooms or food in its restaurant. Either way, you put the survival of that company at risk.” He also criticized the government for apparently withholding information as to why Huawei's being treated as such.
Microsoft wasn't the first company to criticize the U.S. government's handling of Huawei.Intel questioned restrictions on what companies are allowed to sell Huawei as well. Other companies have reportedly lobbied U.S. lawmakers to undo the blacklisting.