This comes as a huge blow to Huawei as Facebook has declared it will no longer be allowing pre-installation of its apps on Huawei phones, the latest blow for the Chinese tech giant as it struggles to keep its business afloat in the face of a U.S. ban on its purchase of American parts and software.
According to Reuters, if you already have a Huawei phone you should be able to continue receiving updates to Facebook-owned apps. The change will only affect new phones. Facebook and Huawei did not respond to requests for comment.
Huawei, the second-largest maker of smartphones worldwide according to IDC, is still allowed to use the freely available, open source version of the Android operating system on its new phones. Users of those phones should still be able to access Facebook through the web and install WhatsApp by downloading the app directly from the WhatsApp website. Installers for other apps, such as Facebook Messenger and Instagram, are also available from third parties on the web. But without official support from companies like Google and Facebook, it’s possible that some apps might not work as expected.
In China, where Facebook and Google are banned and alternatives like the search engine Baidu and the messaging app WeChat dominate, that might not be a big deal. But for users in other countries, such as Europe, the lack of popular US-owned applications could make Huawei phones less attractive.
According to Reuters, Huawei has said it was prepared for the U.S. action and vowed to work around any disruptions. But some customers at stores in Europe and Asia have told Reuters that they are reluctant to buy Huawei phones in the face of uncertainties, and analysts expect a dramatic drop in Huawei smartphone sales.
Huawei is preparing the release of its operating system, as it’ll lose access to Google’s version of Android in some three months. However, Huawei’s operating system is not a solution for any market but China, and that’s mainly because of the Play Store that comes with Google’s Android.