Microsoft has been granted a license to export software to Huawei once again. The software giant was caught up in a long line of US-based technology companies that have been forced to comply with President Trump’s executive order to crack down on Chinese tech companies.
“On November 20th, the US Department of Commerce granted Microsoft’s request for a license to export mass-market software to Huawei,” says a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to Bloomberg. “We appreciate the department’s action in response to our request.”
It’s not immediately clear what “mass-market” refers to, but Microsoft sells Windows and Office licenses to Huawei. It’s likely that Microsoft is at least able to sell Windows licenses to Huawei once again, which will help with Huawei’s server solutions and its Windows-powered laptops. Microsoft is part of a number of US companies that are starting to get licenses to supply goods to Huawei once again.
Huawei was forced to postpone the launch of a new Windows-powered laptop that was due to be unveiled at the CES Asia earlier this year. Microsoft also briefly stopped selling Huawei’s MateBook X Pro laptop at its stores, before returning to sell existing inventory of Huawei laptops.
More importantly for Microsoft, the ability to sell licenses again will be key for the company’s work with Huawei on Azure. Microsoft and Huawei both operate a hybrid cloud solution for Microsoft’s Azure stack, using Microsoft-certified Huawei servers. Huawei’s work on Azure and its laptops could still be complicated by any bans affecting components from US-based companies like Intel.
Microsoft stayed relatively silent on the Windows ban for Huawei. Huawei could have stockpiled hardware like Intel processors, but it’s more difficult to stockpile Windows and Office licenses and ensure Microsoft was adhering to the rules. This new export license will ease those issues, and it’s possible we’ll get to see more Windows-powered Huawei laptops as a result.
By Tom Warren