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Google has applied for a licence to work with Huawei again

Huawei has plainly been missing Google since the US government put a ban on American companies working with certain Chinese counterparts. It appears the feeling is mutual, and Google has put in a request to the US government to be exempt from the ban.

Google general manager Sameer Samat told Deutsche Presse-Agentur that the company had made the application, but couldn’t give any indication as to when a decision would be arrived at.

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It may sound like Google is on a hiding to nothing here, and while that may very well prove to be the case, it’s not without precedent. Microsoft has successfully appealed to the government to provide Windows 10 to Huawei laptops for the time being.

While it would be helpful to Google to work with the third largest smartphone manufacturer in the world again, it would arguably be even more beneficial to Huawei. The firm has gone from being a serious contender in western markets to being a very tough sell indeed. While the company has still been able to use the open-source version of Android, Google services like Maps, Gmail and YouTube are conspicuous by their absence, and there’s no Play Store to plug the gap.

Instead, buyers have to deal with Huawei’s own App Gallery, which is desperately playing catch up on something with a 12-year head start. There are plenty of gaps that UK buyers would find tricky: WhatsApp, Netflix and Facebook to name just three. 

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As Peter wrote in our Mate 30 review: “The software – or rather, the lack of Google’s software – is ultimately the key reason it is impossible for us to recommend this phone despite its otherwise strong performance.”

Hopefully Google’s appeal will be successful, and we can go back to recommending phones from the Chinese giants. Until then, the likes of Apple, Samsung and Sony have a huge advantage.