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Microsoft secures licence to sell to Huawei again

Microsoft has secured a licence to start selling software to Huawei again as the US begins to lift trade restrictions on the Chinese tech giant.

The move comes as the White House attempts to resolve a long-running tariff war with China and sign the first stage of a new trade deal.

Microsoft has not confirmed what it has been approved to start selling to Huawei under the terms of the licence, which was first reported by Reuters, but analysts have suggested it is likely to be the Windows operating system.

An official told the news agency earlier this week that the government had approved around half of the approximately 150 licence requests it has already processed. Around 300 have been requested to date.

Huawei has not yet revealed if it has been granted the right to continue buying access to Google’s Android mobile operating system, which is key to the Chinese manufacturer’s international smartphone sales.

The Trump administration began restricting Huawei’s right to procure US components earlier this year amid an international lobbying campaign against the company. The US government claims Huawei’s technology could be exploited by the Chinese government to spy on Western users, but Huawei has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Although Huawei will welcome the easing of restrictions, the move has already faced resistance from senior US politicians. A total of 15 senators have called on the government to stop issuing new trade licences to the company’s suppliers.

Huawei faced a further setback on Friday when the Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to stop providing subsidies worth of a total of $8.5bn to rural carriers which refuse to strip the company’s components out of their networks. The ruling also applies to ZTE, an equipment vendor owned by the Chinese state. Huawei did not immediately respond to a request for comment.