UK chip designer ARM complying with new US rules on Huawei

Signage is seen at the Huawei offices in Reading, Britain May 2, 2019. — Reuters p
Signage is seen at the Huawei offices in Reading, Britain May 2, 2019. — Reuters p

LONDON, May 22 — British-based chip designer ARM said today it was complying with a move by the United States to block China’s Huawei from accessing US technology.

Huawei, in common with Apple and chipmakers like Qualcomm, uses ARM blueprints to design the processors that power its smartphones. It also licenses graphics technology from the Cambridge-based company.

“ARM is complying with all of the latest regulations set forth by the US government,” an ARM spokesman said in a statement. “No further comment at this time.”

The United States blocked Huawei from buying US goods last week, jeopardising ties with Google, which provides the Android operating system and services like Gmail and Google Maps, as well as hardware partners such as ARM.

It temporarily eased restrictions on Huawei yesterday, granting it a licence to buy US goods until Aug. 19, meaning that updates of Google apps can continue until then.

The BBC reported earlier today that ARM, which is owned by Japan’s Softbank, had instructed employees to halt “all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements” with Huawei after the United States added Huawei to a list of companies with which US firms could not do business.

ARM said in an internal company memo that its designs contained technology of US origin, the BBC reported.

It told staff they were no longer allowed to “provide support, delivery technology (whether software, code, or other updates), engage in technical discussions, or otherwise discuss technical matters” with Huawei, according to the memo seen by the BBC.

Huawei’s international partners are moving to distance themselves from the Chinese company until there is clarity over its relationship with US technology partners that provide the apps and services that are crucial for consumers.

Britain’s biggest mobile operator EE said yesterday it had dropped a Huawei smartphone from the launch range of its 5G network next week. — Reuters