Microsoft Among Companies Granted U.S. License to Sell Software to Huawei

Microsoft Corp. said it was granted a license to do business with China’s Huawei Technologies.

“On November 20, the U.S. Department of Commerce granted Microsoft’s request for a license to export mass-market software to Huawei,” the Redmond, Wash.-based company said in a statement. “We appreciate the Department’s action in response to our request.”

The U.S. Commerce Department this week started granting some suppliers’ applications to sell components to Huawei, one of the biggest makers of smartphones and computer-network equipment.

“We’ve had 290-something requests for specific licenses,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in an interview with Fox Business Network on Tuesday. “We’ve now been starting to send out the 20-day intent-to-deny letters and some approvals.”

In May, the U.S. added Huawei to what’s known as the entity list in an effort to block U.S. companies from selling components to China’s largest technology company, which it accuses of being a threat to America’s national security. Huawei has denied those claims.

The entity listing, which requires American firms to obtain a government license in order to sell to blacklisted firms, hurt some U.S. companies’ earnings and caused confusion as they waited for clarity from the government on what business—if any—they could do with Huawei. Technology industry leaders and their lawyers argued for months that the blacklisting of one of their biggest customers was detrimental to their businesses.

A bipartisan group of senators requested that U.S. President Donald Trump suspend the approval of licenses to conduct business with Huawei because providing them allows “Huawei to continue to pose a serious threat to U.S. telecommunications infrastructure and national security more broadly,” the lawmakers said. They also asked that Congress be given a report outlining the criteria for determining whether or not the license would pose a threat.

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