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Huawei has been the victim of a determined campaign by the United States to cripple the second-largest mobile phone maker in the world. This has largely been possible due to the dependence of the company on the US-based Android system and Google Play Store.
Unlike most of the other components in a smartphone, the Google App store has an extremely strong lock-in element, which makes the handsets -no matter how innovative- extremely unattractive in the West. In China, Huawei does not have this problem, as Google’s Play Store is not even allowed in the region.
It appears that Huawei has realised that if this situation can be replicated in Europe, this would be a solution to their problem. In an interview with Handelsblatt newspaper, deputy chairman Eric Xu suggested that if Europe had its own OS, Huawei would be happy to use it:
We must not cling to the illusion that the conflict will be resolved in the next few weeks or months.
If Europe had its own ecosystem, Huawei would use it.
We can go out of production completely without components from US companies.
We are already self-sufficient today. If it was different, we would have gone bankrupt.
While self-serving, the suggestion does have some merit. The regulatory environment in Europe differs quite extremely from that in the USA- particularly when it comes to data privacy and tracking. Relationships between USA and Europe has also been rather tumultuous in recent years, largely due to the fickleness of its leader. One could easily imagine European companies being the victim of a similar persecutory regime as Huawei, leaving the region similarly exposed, due to their dependency on Android.
In an increasingly fragmented and anti-globalist world, it may make a lot more sense for each regional block to have their own mobile operating system to follow local rules and ensure reliable availability without undue international influence.