Microsoft has had a mixed relationship with the presidency of Donald Trump. In many aspects, the company has benefitted from changes introduced by the administration, such as new tax cuts. However, Microsoft has also criticized Trump’s policies on numerous occasions. Now, the company’s President and chief lawyer Brad Smith has hit out at the U.S. government’s treatment of Huawei.
Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei was effectively banned from working with U.S. companies earlier this year. Concerns over 5G tech being used to aid the Chinese government led the Department of Commerce (DoC) to place Huawei on its entity list.
This means Huawei cannot purchase from U.S. suppliers. Furthermore, the company cannot access services like Android after Google adhered to the list. The situation has harmed Huawei’s chances of growth in several markets.
In the summer, Microsoft joined with gaming rivals Nintendo and Sony to protest Trump’s Chinese tariffs, including Huawei. In the letter, the gaming giants (considered the “big three” of the industry) say U.S. tariffs placed on China will harm the console industry.
In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Brad Smith has said Huawei’s treatment has been “un-American”. Indeed, Smith see this as a big enough issue that he tackled it in his upcoming book, Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age.
Smith says Huawei should be able to trade with U.S. companies and explanations around the regulations are too vague:
“Oftentimes, what we get in response is, ‘Well, if you knew what we knew, you would agree with us, ‘And our answer is, ‘Great, show us what you know so we can decide for ourselves. That’s the way this country works.'”
Smith also said Trump should have known better as a businessman who manages hotel chains.
“To tell a tech company that it can sell products, but not buy an operating system or chips, is like telling a hotel company that it can open its doors, but not put beds in its hotel rooms or food in its restaurant. Either way, you put the survival of that company at risk.”