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The ongoing Huawei saga, explained in brief

Here’s a rundown of all the major news in the past week
A man walks past an electronics shop in China
A man walks past an electronics shop in China
A man walks past an electronics shop in ChinaAssociated Press

If you’re feeling bewildered trying to keep up with the never-ending references to Huawei in the news, you’re not alone. Fear not—here’s a handy time line of everything that has happened so far this week. And remember, however bad your week has been, it probably hasn’t been as bad as Huawei’s.

(If you still want to learn more about how we got to this point, there’s a handy explainer on the wider context here. And here’s our own explainer of 5G and Huawei’s connection: “The real reason America is scared of Huawei: internet-connected everything.”

1. This week’s furor kicked off with the US’s announcement last Thursday that it had added Huawei to the “Entity List,” a blacklist of companies subject to export restrictions. The Justice Department claimed that Huawei has broken sanctions on Iran, among other things. 

2. On Monday, Google announced it had blocked Huawei from using Android in any new phones. Huawei is the second biggest smartphone maker in the world. This would stop it from being able to embed Maps, Gmail, or YouTube in any of its new handsets.

3. Chipmakers Intel, Qualcomm, Xilinx, and Broadcom also said they would not sell components to Huawei.

4. On Tuesday the US said it would temporarily ease these restrictions, but they’ll still kick in from August. Huawei’s founder shot back that the US “underestimates” Huawei.

5. On Wednesday, UK chip designer ARM said it would have to sever ties with Huawei. This could be a far more serious blow than Google’s announcement, as Huawei's chips rely heavily on ARM’s designs. Two British carriers also said they would not offer Huawei phones to future 5G customers.

6. Latest: it looks as if Huawei could have enough inventory to weather the blacklist for months. And Trump sees it as a pawn in trying to achieve a trade deal with China. Even though Huawei is “very dangerous” in unspecified ways. All make sense?

 

Deep Dive

Computing

Linux hack concept
Linux hack concept

The US military wants to understand the most important software on Earth

Open-source code runs on every computer on the planet—and keeps America’s critical infrastructure going. DARPA is worried about how well it can be trusted

Close up of worker inspecting chip in a clean room
Close up of worker inspecting chip in a clean room

Corruption is sending shock waves through China’s chipmaking industry

The arrests of several top semiconductor fund executives could force the government to rethink how it invests in the sector.

inflection point post-NSO concept
inflection point post-NSO concept

The hacking industry faces the end of an era

But even if NSO Group is no more, there are plenty of rivals who will rush in to take its place. And the same old problems haven’t gone away.

The Western Union Building, 60 Hudson Street, c. 1931.
The Western Union Building, 60 Hudson Street, c. 1931.

Energy-hungry data centers are quietly moving into cities

Companies are pushing more server farms into the hearts of population centers.

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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