Google, which cut ties with Huawei after the Trump Administration put the company in the Entity List last year, wants to do business with the Chinese tech giant. For this, the Mountain View, California-based company has reportedly applied for a licence that will allow it to deliver Google Mobile Services (GMS) on Huawei phones.
This essentially means that if Google gets an exception, it will be able to deliver apps like YouTube, Play Store, Maps, and others on Huawei phones, as well as provide further updates to all other applications. Huawei was able to use the Android platform due to the Open Source nature of the operating system but was not licenced to use Google Mobile Services. For the unaware, the US government has already made an exception for Microsoft and allowed it to do business with Huawei.
This follows a report making rounds on the internet, according to which, not doing business with Huawei could put a dent in the Android OS supremacy as well as Google's revenue. According to International Data Corporation, Google’s Android had 86.6 per cent of OS market share in 2019 and is expected to remain the same in 2020. Google allows people to download apps from the Play Store, which is a cash cow for the company.
The absence of GMS on its smartphones due to the ban had pushed Huawei to develop its own app store called AppGallery and recently, the company announced that AppGallery has become the third-largest app store in the world. The official app distribution platform of Huawei is now available in over 170 countries/regions with 400 million monthly active users (MAUs), covering mainstream apps and services worldwide.
Huawei says that its AppGallery segments applications across 18 categories, including news, social media, entertainment, and more, are all very easily searchable. It also claims that the app store comes with security and protection, including developer real-name verification and four-step review process for secure app operation.
‘All apps go through a stringent verification test to prevent developers’ apps from malicious activity. It has an age-rating system to create a safe environment for children, filtering out apps that are not suitable for their age range. AppGallery deploys the highest level of verification to isolate and protect users’ sensitive data and privacy,’ the company said in a statement. Huawei also says that the company sensitive information like biometric data ‘will never be processed outside the Huawei device’.
‘Privacy, under your control’ has always been at the heart of our philosophy. We place privacy protection and cybersecurity as the top priorities of all our business operations and strictly implement them in all phases of our products. We also have the strictest privacy and cybersecurity solutions in Huawei AppGallery,’ said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group.
Given the claimed popularity of the AppGallery, it turns out that Huawei’s Chinese counterparts are interested in having their own app stores instead of relying on Google to deliver apps. According to Reuters, Huawei is working with Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo to create a unified app platform as an alternative to Google Play.
This initiative might threaten Google’s monopoly in China, as well as in countries where Chinese tech companies have been performing well. Google has also been pulled up for allegedly accessing personal data without people’s knowledge, and given the various reports that have questioned the company’s ways of handling user data, an alternate app providing platform could damage the Android-maker’s stronghold.
This will also put other companies in a better position to negotiate with Google and possibly hurt the search-engine giant’s revenues. If things go south, it is possible that the OEMs will abandon Google services. Further, it looks quite easy on paper, but sidelining Google will not only need billions of dollars to provide an experience like Google Play but also high-level expertise and marketing to convince people to buy their offerings.