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ZTE faces potential Android loss

ZTE was founded in 1985 and has extensive international operations. (Source: CNET)
ZTE was founded in 1985 and has extensive international operations. (Source: CNET)
According to a report from Reuters, ZTE may lose its Android license. As the current seventh-largest Android-based smartphone manufacturer, this would be a massive blow against the Shenzhen-based corporation. Even just losing access to the Google Play Store application would be incredibly detrimental to the beleaguered telecommunications-equipment maker.

The United States Department of Commerce recently banned American companies from supplying ZTE with essential components and software, and now it seems that the Chinese company may also have to say farewell to Android or at least to Google Mobile Services, which includes the Google Play Store. Android is open source software, so ZTE could just adapt the code for its smartphone devices. But losing the essential Google Play Store app would likely hamper ZTE’s smartphone marketing strategy and affect overall sales.

It is estimated ZTE ships in the region of 45 million smartphones a year, so losing either Android or Google Mobile Services would be clearly devastating for the company. The troubled telecommunications firm also has to pay US$1.2 billion in fines for violating trade restrictions and selling US technology to Iran and North Korea. The Reuters article adds that ZTE and Alphabet Inc. (Google’s parent company) are in discussions about the exact terms of the ban and whether or not it means the Chinese firm will lose access to the ubiquitous Google apps and OS.


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Daniel R Deakin, 2018-04-18 (Update: 2018-04-19)