Microsoft President Brad Smith weighs in on Huawei and the US government

What you need to know

  • Microsoft President Brad Smith discussed the U.S. government and Huawei in a recent interview.
  • Smith discusses the role of governments regarding technology further in his upcoming book "Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age."

Microsoft's President and Chief Legal Officer, Brad Smith, recently discussed the U.S. government's treatment of Huawei in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek. Smith shared some of his efforts to discuss the export ban list and Huawei with U.S. regulators in the interview.

Smith stated that actions like that of the U.S. government in relation to Huawei should not be taken without "sound basis in fact, logic, and the rule of law." According to Smith, Microsoft has asked for clarification from the U.S. government and received vague explanations.

Oftentimes, what we get in response is, 'Well, if you knew what we knew, you would agree with us. And our answer is, 'Great, show us what you know so we can decide for ourselves. That's the way this country works.'

President Trump has previously stated that Huawei is a national security threat, and the U.S. Department of Commerce added Huawei to the export blacklist. Huawei being on that list affects the company's ability to sell devices because the list restricts U.S. companies from selling products to certain Chinese companies. As a result, Huawei has had to look for alternatives to Android for its phones and has delayed product launches. The blacklist takes full effect in November following several months of heated discussions and extensions.

Huawei Mate 30 could launch without an official build of Android or Google apps

Smith added that the export blacklist puts the survival of companies at risk.

To tell a tech company that it can sell products, but not buy an operating system or chips, is like telling a hotel company that it can open its doors, but not put beds in its hotel rooms or food in its restaurant. Either way, you put the survival of that company at risk.

In addition to discussing the effects of the export ban list on Huawei, Smith also addressed potential upcoming restrictions on emerging technologies with Bloomberg Businessweek, stating, "You can't be a global technology leader if you can't bring your technology to the globe."

Smith further discusses the U.S. government, China, and several issues facing the technology industry in his upcoming book "Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age." The book is co-authored by Carol Ann Browne and comes out September 10, 2019.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at