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US Senator Wants to Know How Huawei Still Has Hard Drives

Seagate
(Image credit: Seagate)

A senior U.S. senator on Tuesday filed a formal enquiry with three makers of hard drives — Seagate, Toshiba, and Western Digital — asking whether they complied with a regulation that requires them to obtain a license to sell HDDs to Huawei.

Republican senator Roger Wicker this week decided to find out whether Seagate, Toshiba, and Western Digital believed that the new rule "prohibits shipment of hard disk drives to Huawei or any affiliate without a license" and the status of all license applications to ship their products to Huawei. The senator told Reuters that he was "in a fact-finding process ... about whether leading global suppliers of hard disk drives are complying."

Last August the U.S. Department of Commerce imposed new rules that required any company that sells hardware, software, equipment, or any other asset designed and/or built using American IP to Huawei to obtain a special export license from the U.S. government. Such licenses are usually reviewed with a presumption of denial policy, so they tend to be especially hard to get.

Last September two U.S.-based makers of hard drives had different views on the new rules. Western Digital said that it ceased to supply HDDs and SSDs to Huawei and applied for a license, whereas Seagate initiated an investigation to find out whether it actually needed a license.

Toshiba is a Japan-based company, so it might be a little easier for the company to work with Huawei. Still, since Toshiba uses loads of technologies developed in the U.S. (e.g., it has IP related to 3.5-inch HDDs that it obtained from Western Digital), it has to get a license from the U.S. DoC anyway.

Huawei sells thousands of different products, many of which need an HDD or an SSD to function. While there are solid-state drives that use solely Chinese technologies, HDDs are made by three companies in the world using machinery and IP designed in the USA. While Huawei said it had stockpiled enough components to keep its businesses running for a while, in eight months almost any stock should have been depleted. Therefore, the senator wants to find out whether Huawei procures HDDs on open market, or continues to be supplied by manufacturers themselves.

  • Heat_Fan89
    Huawei makes some of the best and well made Android phones on the market for a fraction of the of a flagship phone. I have owned to Huawei phones and the most recent is an Honor 9X. Lovely phone features and performance.
    Reply
  • purple_dragon
    Heat_Fan89 said:
    Huawei makes some of the best and well made Android phones on the market for a fraction of the of a flagship phone. I have owned to Huawei phones and the most recent is an Honor 9X. Lovely phone features and performance.

    Wouldn't be surprised if they use child labor to keep costs down.
    Reply
  • carocuore
    So these guys literally can go ahead and say to anyone around the world "hey you, don't sell any hard drives to that dude over there" and everyone has to comply or else their country gets either wrecked by sanctions or invaded.

    Oh man, gotta love democracy.
    Reply
  • wr3zzz
    Senator Wicker should demand all countries in the world to require ID and background check subject to American oversight whenever a customer buys a HDD off their local retail shelves, or toilet paper because it's also strategic.
    Reply
  • hajila
    purple_dragon said:
    Wouldn't be surprised if they use child labor to keep costs down.
    You know which other products are manufactured in Asia with the use of child labor?
    Reply
  • Makaveli
    carocuore said:
    So these guys literally can go ahead and say to anyone around the world "hey you, don't sell any hard drives to that dude over there" and everyone has to comply or else their country gets either wrecked by sanctions or invaded.

    Oh man, gotta love democracy.

    lol merica!

    if you want freedom its gonna cost you.
    Reply
  • IBM296
    Lol the Senator thinks that somehow this will stop Huawei from acquiring Hard drives and SSD's. This complete ban of everything on Huawei has only made the company more resilient and in about 2 years Huawei will be laughing in the face of the US government
    Reply
  • LolaGT
    Anyone who is using their intellectual property (IP).
    Should maybe read up on it, lest one looks like a fool.

    So these guys literally can go ahead and say to anyone
    Reply
  • husker
    carocuore said:
    So these guys literally can go ahead and say to anyone around the world "hey you, don't sell any hard drives to that dude over there" and everyone has to comply or else their country gets either wrecked by sanctions or invaded.

    Oh man, gotta love democracy.

    This kind of regulation is not new, nor is democracy in conflict with creating and enforcing economic, trade, and security regulations.
    Reply
  • passivecool
    Is this the proof that the entire patents concept primally exists to dissuade innovation and smother legitimate competition,
    or is it proof that the Chinese laugh in the face of IP…
    Or is it both?
    The elephant in the server room is that the US has sunk to desperate measures and that even these are failing.
    Reply