Microsoft Receives US License Approval
Tech giant Microsoft Corp. has received a US license from the country’s government. The license would allow the company to export software to China’s Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.
A spokesman for Microsoft said via email the Commerce Government granted the firm’s license request. It will now be able to export mass-market software to the telecoms group on November 20.
The Commerce Department had started this week approving US licenses for a certain number of businesses. These businesses will be able to sell products to the Shenzhen-based group.
The government had about 290 requests for specific licenses so far, according to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
Ross also said they had begun sending out the 20-day intent-to-deny letters and some approvals.
It was not immediately clear which items received a green light to be sold to Huawei.
A person familiar with the process stated that several licenses for sales of cellphone components and non-electronic parts were approved.
Microsoft chose not to provide further details on which products had received a US license.
The Commerce Department declined to comment on the matter as well.
Analyst Dan Ives believed the US license was most likely for the firm’s Windows operating system.
Senators Oppose US License Approvals
The decision came as Washington tries to settle a phase one deal with Beijing to end a damaging trade war.
US President Donald Trump’s administration announced this week that it would permit some suppliers to resume selling to Huawei.
The Chinese telecoms equipment maker got blacklisted in May after it was placed under suspicion of threatening national security.
With Huawei blacklisted, US companies were required to have a government license to sell to the firm.
Furthermore, the entity listing has left some US firms with weaker revenue and the country’s tech industry asking for clarity for months.
Microsoft President Brad Smith also expressed his disapproval over the move in September.
Smith complained that the US was treating the Huawei unfairly and refusing to clarify why the Chinese company was prohibited from buying US technology.
Ives added that the license will be a major relief for Huawei after an arduous period with large tech players such as Microsoft, Google Inc., and others prohibited on the platform.
Huawei has been awaiting a license for Alphabet Inc.’s Google to supply its mobile services to new models.
Without access to Google services like the Play Store, the company could have a hard time selling its phones to international consumers.
Still, a bipartisan group of 15 senators showed concern over the issuing of licenses.
The lawmakers called for the suspension of licenses, as they saw cooperation with Huawei to be what they described as a serious threat to US telecoms infrastructure and national security.
The senators also requested that the Congress be provided with a report outlining specific criteria for determining whether the approval of any US license poses a national security threat.