Aussie customers rushed to sell their phone after Google’s announcement.
Aussie customers rushed to sell their phone after Google’s announcement.

Aussies willing to take $400 loss on Huawei phones

MOST Australian consumers and telcos would abandon beleaguered Chinese tech giant Huawei over its latest string of problems, experts predict, amid revelations local buyers would not qualify for refunds even if their smartphones failed to receive Google software updates and apps.

Questions also arose over whether Microsoft would sever support for the firm after Google "suspended" the company's access to major parts of its phone software on Monday as part of a US ban.

Other big tech firms, including Intel and Qualcomm, also revealed they would no longer supply vital components to the company, further jeopardising its future.

The string of devastating revelations for Huawei followed an executive order from US President Donald Trump last week that banned the company from doing business with American firms over national security risks.

But Huawei Australia hit back at some of the claims, seeking to reassure customers that their existing smartphones were not obsolete and that the company was developing its own, alternative operating system.

The string of devastating revelations for Huawei followed an executive order from US President Donald Trump last week that banned the company from doing business with American firms over national security risks.

But the ban only hit consumers on Monday when Google confirmed it would no longer provide significant Android software updates to Huawei phones, and would not deliver the operating system or Google apps such as Gmail, Maps, and YouTube to future Huawei devices.

Many Australian consumers responded to the news by selling their Huawei handsets online, with more than 100 listed on Gumtree since Google's announcement.

One seller was even prepared to take a $400 loss on a brand new Huawei P30 Pro phone purchased just two days earlier.

Lawyer and privacy advocate Travis Schultz said many consumers were also seeking advice on whether they could apply for refunds from Huawei under Australian Consumer Law.

But he said consumers would not qualify as the smartphones were still operational, and users did not have a direct contract with Google to provide new software features, apps and updates.

"There are a lot of people saying, 'that's it for me'," Mr Schultz said.

"They're going to take the safe option and go to someone other than Huawei because of a lack of software updates. There are a lot of allegations being made about Huawei so there's a great deal of uncertainty."

Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi also warned the "detrimental" developments were likely to turn away Aussie buyers and local carriers would probably abandon the brand to focus on safer options from Apple, Samsung, Google, and even Oppo.

"Huawei might fall into the too-difficult basket for many phone carriers," Mr Fadaghi predicted.

"No one wants to fall foul of the US government. There are many choices of handset manufacturers so most will probably choose the least controversial option."

But Huawei Australia corporate affairs director Jeremy Mitchell said users could be assured that the US ban would not immediately "impact" them.

"Consumers with Huawei devices will still receive security updates and be able to use Google apps," he said.

"Huawei will continue to provide after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold and that are still in stock globally."

The ban will hit future Huawei smartphones the hardest, including the much-anticipated Mate X with a folding screen, as Google will not provide the devices with Android software, its apps, or access to its app store.

And while Huawei has revealed it is working on its own competing phone operating system, dubbed HongMeng OS, it will also have to overcome a shortage of hardware after chip makers Intel, Qualcomm, Xilinx, and Broadcom instructed employees to stop supplying equipment to Huawei to comply with the US ban.

Microsoft has yet to comment on whether it will stop providing Windows software to the company; an outcome that would seriously jeopardises Huawei's laptop range.



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