Last week, Huawei dropped an ominous announcement that the Huawei Mate 40 will likely be the last smartphone with a HiSilicon Kirin chip. Contract chipmakers have been barred from using US-developed tech to fabricate chips for Huawei after September 15, 2020, thus effectively barring TSMC from fabricating Kirin chipsets. Now, it appears that Qualcomm is lobbying for a license to sell its 5G Snapdragon SoCs to Huawei for use in its flagships and other lineups.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, US-based Qualcomm is lobbying the Trump administration to roll back restrictions on the sale of advanced components to Huawei. Qualcomm presents that the export ban will not stop Huawei from obtaining necessary components, and instead, it will hand over billions of dollars of Huawei sales to other competitors. Qualcomm presented Huawei as a customer for $8 billion worth of orders. And because of the license requirements upon US firms, this business now potentially goes to “two foreign competitors”, referring to Taiwan’s MediaTek and South Korea’s Samsung. Denying Qualcomm a license will help Qualcomm’s foreign competitors while hardly affecting Huawei as it can source components elsewhere. Granting a license would generate billions of dollars in sales for Qualcomm and help it fund development fo new technologies, Qualcomm argued.

If Qualcomm is allowed to sell chips to Huawei, it can fill in the large shoes needed in the absence of a Kirin flagship. The next generation of Kirin SoCs to be used in the Huawei Mate 40 have already been fabricated, but flagships and other lineups beyond are now in a limbo. Huawei is already experimenting with high-end MediaTek Dimensity chipsets in a few devices, so that could be the direction for the future. The Snapdragon flagships offer the best performance in the Android space, so it remains to be seen how the situation unfolds if Qualcomm is allowed to sell to Huawei.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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