According to the BBC, chip designer ARM has ordered its own staff through a memo to stop working with Huawei. That could have far-reaching consequences for Huawei’s Kirin mobile chips.
The BBC reports that it has seen internal documents in which the leadership of ARM tells its staff to suspend business with Huawei. ARM is alleged to have instructed its employees to terminate “all contracts in force, support services and any partnership pending.” ARM told the BBC that it “complies with all the latest US government regulations,” but declined to comment further. Huawei also declined to comment substantive.
The memo states that ARM’s designs contain “American original technology.” Based on this finding, the management of the British-origin company is probably of the opinion that it does not fall within the decree of the American president.
If ARM is actually forced to cut ties with Huawei, it could be quite a new blow to Huawei. The chip company HiSilicon is owned by Huawei and makes the Kirin-socs for smartphones, which Huawei uses for some of its smartphones. ARM’s CPU designs are crucial here; HiSilcon has licenses from ARM for this purpose. If they disappear, it can make the production of the Kirin socs considerably more difficult. The ban also reportedly affects ARM China, a Chinese company in which ARM has a 49 percent stake.
The exact consequences for the Kirin socs are still unclear. The Kirin 985 soc should appear in Huawei phones later this year, as is likely to appear in the Huawei Mate 30. The BBC writes that a source within ARM is reporting that the Kirin 985, which should go into mass production in the third quarter of this year, not affected by the ban. However, the next iteration of the chip has yet to be completed, and that version will likely have to be built from the ground up.
The US Department of Commerce has banned US companies from trading with Huawei and 70 companies related to the Chinese company. Based on this decision, Google was recently forced to stop providing Huawei with an Android license, but a three-month delay followed soon after.