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Google cuts ties with Huawei: here’s where its phones are most popular

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Google has significantly scaled back its business with Huawei in a move that would prevent the Chinese tech behemoth from bringing Google’s suite of popular services — including apps like the Play Store and Gmail — to its future smartphones. The decision also means that Google will no longer work with Huawei to provide Android system updates available to its smartphones, as Reuters first reported.

On Monday, however, Huawei caught a break when the US Commerce Department decided to allow the company to continue maintaining and providing updates to its existing US handsets until August 19. But whether Huawei will be able to maintain its position as a leader in the global smartphone market after that temporary license expires remains to be seen.

Although Huawei smartphones are difficult to find in the US, the company is the second-largest smartphone vendor in the world, coming in second only to Samsung. Huawei’s biggest audience is in the Greater China region, where it represented 32.95% of smartphone shipments as of the first quarter of 2019, according to data that market research firm Canalys provided to Business Insider.

But it also has a sizable chunk of the smartphone market in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, as Huawei was responsible for 23.34% of smartphone shipments in the EMEA region during that same time period.

Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

Google’s move comes after the US government placed Huawei on a trade blacklist that would require US companies to obtain government approval in order to work with the Chinese tech firm. Current Huawei smartphones will remain unaffected for now and will still have access to Google services like the Play Store, but Google will not collaborate with the company on future handsets.

Google will also not be able to issue software updates for any Huawei products, including the company’s current smartphones, which means any future technical support for its phones will have to come from Huawei, not Google.

Huawei previously said that it has developed its own smartphone operating system to be used in place of Android, but the company has not divulged details on it just yet.

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