Huawei US subsidiary distances itself from parent

Chinese firm's US-based research arm is complying with trade ban, according to reports

Huawei shop

A US-based subsidiary of Huawei has banned employees from its parent company from its offices and IT systems, according to Reuters.

Futurewei is Huawei's research and development arm, situated in Santa Clara, California, but it's seeking to build a separate identity from the Chinese telecoms giant. 

Sources from the company, who wished to remain anonymous, told Reuters that Futurewei employees are moving to a new IT system and are forbidden from using the Huawei name or logo in communications. Both Futurewei and Huawei declined to comment on the strategy.

This alleged division comes as many US companies distance themselves from Huawei, complying with the US government's trade ban. This, if true, is the first case of it directly affecting Huawei's internal operations.

However, despite the sanctions, a number of US-based Huawei partners have continued to support the Chinese firm. Recently, the Huawei MateBook X Pro reappeared in the Microsoft Store, having been originally removed to comply with the ban. Microsoft issued a statement suggesting it was merely selling off stock, but it has now confirmed to PC World, along with Intel, that it will continue to support Huawei laptops despite the US trade ban.

"We remain committed to providing exceptional customer experiences," Microsoft said in a statement to PC World. "Our initial evaluation of the US Department of Commerce's decision on Huawei has indicated we may continue to offer Microsoft software updates to customers with Huawei devices."

This will come as good news to MateBook users as the laptops would be pretty useless without Windows updates or Intel driver support. A similar situation looked set to derail the company's smartphone business with Google suggesting it would stop Android updates to Huawei phones.

Futurewei's reported new direction adds another potential messy detail to the Huawei ban. Until now its operations have been largely indistinguishable from Huawei and the firm has no separate brand or even a website. The unnamed employee in the Reuters report added Futurewei's staff often identified themselves as Huawei employees.

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