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Facebook restrictions to have little impact on Huawei: Experts

Chinese smartphone giant Huawei, which is currently battling the trade ban imposed by the US, has also been cut off by Facebook to comply with the sanctions, but experts believe that the move by the social networking giant would not have worrying implications on the smartphone player.

"Unlike Google, Facebook has taken a different approach to the US export ban. Facebook is suspending app preinstalls on Huawei smartphones out of the box," said Prabhu Ram, Head, Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CyberMedia Research (CMR).

The Facebook move would ensure that all its apps, including Instagram and WhatsApp, would not come preinstalled on future Huawei smartphones.

"Unlike prior decisions by others, the Facebook decision does not have serious, or worrying implications, either for Huawei or its consumers," Ram told IANS.

"Consumers can still install apps via the Google Play Store," he pointed out.

Echoing a similar view, Faisal Kawoosa, Chief Analyst at market research firm techARC, told IANS: "This is going to be least significant thing and will go unnoticed.

"In most of the cases, even if such apps are preloaded, they still connect to Play Store to fetch the latest build, as there is a lag between app being burnt pre-shipping and the date when a user starts using them."

However, the overall impact of the US trade ban on Huawei is likely to affect the global smartphone shipments.

Singapore-based market research firm Canalys slashed its global smartphone shipments forecast by 3.1 per cent in the wake of the ban on Huawei.

Search engine giant Google has urged to be exempted from the export ban citing reasons that could be bad for its technology business.

Google also fears that the export ban would create a competitor to the US-made Operating Systems (OS), which would hurt the search engine giant's Android monopoly.

Notably, Google announced last month it wanted to work with Huawei over the next 90 days, shortly after the trade restrictions were temporarily eased on the world's second-largest smartphone manufacturer.

"Assuming that US and China are able to accomplish a level-playing field and trade understanding, including on Huawei, before the 90-day reprieve expires later this year, Huawei's future will be bright. But if there is no US-China deal, it would mean that Huawei would have to continue full steam ahead on life beyond US tech," Ram noted.

Huawei is intensively testing its own operating system, to be named "HongMeng OS" for China market or "Oak OS" for overseas market, which is likely to be launched in August or September, China's Global Times newspaper said on Friday, citing unnamed sources.

"Imagine, a new OS, and a new apps ecosystem. Gaining consumer acceptance in global markets. If, unlike ZTE, Huawei does not fail and fold, and is able to rebuild itself, it will signal that major American tech companies will lose out on the second largest handset maker's smartphone base globally. It's a tall order, but not improbable," said Ram.

(Krishna SinhaChaudhury can be reached at krishna.s@ians.in)
 

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