Microsoft granted US license to export software to Huawei

Bloomberg Washington | Updated on November 22, 2019

File photo   -  REUTERS

In May, the US added China’s largest technology company to an entity list

Microsoft Corp got a license to do business with Huawei Technologies Co., a step that lets the software giant continue selling some of its most important products to a Chinese company that was blacklisted by the United States (US) government earlier this year.

“On November 20, the US Department of Commerce granted Microsoft’s request for a license to export mass-market software to Huawei,We appreciate the departments action in response to our request,” Redmond, a Washington-based company said in a statement on Thursday.

It was not immediately clear how mass-market is defined in the license and the company declined to elaborate beyond the statement. Microsoft sells Windows and Office software to Huawei.

This week, the US Commerce Department started granting licenses to some US companies that supply Huawei, one of the biggest makers of smartphones and computer-network equipment.

“We have had 290-something requests for specific licenses. We have now been starting to send out the 20-day intent-to-deny letters and some approvals,” US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in an interview.

In May, the US added Huawei to an entity list to block US companies from selling components to China’s largest technology company, which it accuses of threatening US’ national security. Huawei has denied those claims.

The entity listing requires US firms to get a government license to sell to blacklisted firms. That has dented revenue at some US companies and sown confusion about what is allowed and what is not. Technology industry leaders and their lawyers have pushed for clarity for months.

Microsoft President Brad Smith complained in September that the US was treating Huawei unfairly and refusing to explain why Huawei should not be allowed to purchase US technology, including Microsoft software.

A bipartisan group of senators requested that US President Donald Trump suspend the approval of licenses. Doing business with Huawei poses a serious threat to US telecommunications infrastructure and national security more broadly, the lawmakers said. They also asked that Congress be given a report outlining the criteria for determining whether or not each license would pose a threat.

Published on November 22, 2019

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