Qualcomm Inc. has received a license from the U.S. government to sell 4G mobile phone chips to Huawei Technologies Co Ltd., Reuters reported. This decision means that Qualcomm has complied with a rule that the U.S. Department of Commerce unveiled in May of 2020 that requires licenses for sales to Huawei Technologies of semiconductors made abroad with U.S. technology.
In August of 2020, Qualcomm asked the Trump administration to roll back its restrictions on the sale of advanced components to Huawei Technologies so that Qualcomm could sell chips for 5G phones to Huawei. At the time, The Wall Street Journal reported that Qualcomm was telling U.S. policy makers that their export ban won’t stop Huawei from obtaining necessary components. The company also said the export ban risked handing billions of dollars of Huawei sales to its overseas competitors.
The request by Qualcomm came after a patent-rights dispute with Huawei was resolved. The settlement gave Qualcomm a $1.8 billion lump-sum payment from Huawei to cover previously unpaid fees. It also included a multiyear deal to license Qualcomm’s patented technologies for Huawei use.
Obviously, that part of the settlement would not have worked out for Qualcomm unless it obtained a license from the U.S. Department of Commerce. A Qualcomm spokeswoman told Reuters, “We received a license for a number of products, which includes some 4G products.”
Engadget reported, in August of 2020, that after September 15, 2020, Huawei would no longer have access to the manufacturing it needs to continue making the Mate 40’s Kirin 9000 processor. The result was that Huawei was running out of smartphone chips.