Huawei’s ARM now cut off – Facing crisis

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In the latest development of Huawei getting banned, one more company joined in to ban the Chinese tech giant. And unlike others like Qualcomm or Broadcom, this one will have a critical impact on Huawei. ARM Holdings, the company responsible for designing Huawei’s chips architecture banned the company as a part of the US ban!

If you’d like to know what’s going on, here’s the complete story. And this comes as the latest development in the same matter. After Android’s ban, they were facing a crisis but were still functional. However, this might be more of a serious issue!

With Android banning Huawei, they already seem to have a plan B in place, in the form of a new OS. And with the 90-day uplift, they can also purchase US tech and work on software updates for now. So, not much of a problem. But since ARM plays a vital role in Huawei’s processors, it’s like having an “arm” cut-off.

ARM’s Role

Huawei creates its own chips, HiSilicon Kirin. But their chips use ARM technology, and many important parts in the Kirin chips are ARM’s design. There is no substitute for that right now. And without that, Huawei’s almost crippled. Of course, that is a given. Because without chips, how are they going to make phones? And it’s not only phones. Huawei also relies on ARM to design its Kunpeng computer servers chips, which provide cloud computing and storage to customers!

arm bans huawei

Now ARM is not a US company. It is actually a Japanese subsidiary of SoftBank and has headquarters in the US. However, it has offices and plants in many other countries, and the USA is one of the more important ones. Also, many technologies in ARM’s design in those Kirin chips come from the US – like the Cortex processors and their Mali GPU. So, in compliance with the US ban, ARM is suspending its operations with Huawei, or its subsidiaries.

ARM instructed its employees via an internal memo to halt any ongoing and future transactions with Huawei. They claim that they’re only complying to the new policies, and are actually trying to resolve the matter as soon as possible. However, there are some reports that the Kirin 985, which is supposed to be Huawei’s next flagship chip will not be affected for now. But this will severely affect other iterations of the same chip. And so, their upcoming Mate series is in jeopardy, along with their KunPeng server chips, too.

Huawei responded by saying that they valued their relationships with their partners but understood the pressure they’re in. And hoped that this matter will resolve soon. Also, Huawei has revealed that they have a stockpile of chips to last them over 3 months. And until then, this might blow over.

Still, if it doesn’t, Huawei is a large company. It probably has enough resources to come up with their own systems, just like their plan B operating system. However, their plan B was in the works since 2012. And making an entirely new chip might take just as long! So, right now, Huawei’s future is very uncertain…