Huawei scraps planned MateBook launch as US sanctions bite
Huawei has officially confirmed that its has scrapped plans to launch its newest generations of MateBook designs. The embattled Chinese communications and consumer electronics giant had planned to reveal the new devices at CES Asia 2019 being held in Shanghai this week but this has now been put on hold indefinitely. The news confirms rumors that Notebookcheck reported on exclusively during Computex 2019 where we learnt that Huawei had cancelled an order with a supplier for 16-inch notebook display panels putting a serious question mark over its production plans.
Speaking to CNBC, Huawei consumer division CEO Richard Yu called the situation "unfortunate" and said that Huawei's listing on the US government Entity List has meant that it had no option but to pull the pin. The development follows a report from Taiwanese supply chain publication Digitimes which said that Huawei had ceased production of its MateBooks and future development of what until now had been a successful product line.
Despite apparently stockpiling a range of components including Intel chips over the past several months in anticipation of a US ban, the company would still need to install Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system on the machines. With Microsoft unable to supply any licences for the product line, the only alternative would be to ship the MateBooks with a Linux distro like Canonical's Ubuntu. However, as a UK-based company that does a lot of business with the US, this also wouldn't have been viable.
The only way out for Huawei to be taken off the blacklist, or for the US government to give US companies a period of grace during which they can gradually untie their affairs with Huawei. US companies like Google have been lobbying to be able to continue to do business with Huawei which the Trump administration can permit by exception. However, at this stage, there have been no indications that the US is willing to back down as its trade war with China continues to escalate.