Huawei has a new tool that could help it survive in the face of an oppressive trade ban imposed by the United States. After months of uncertainty, Huawei has unveiled its custom operating system, which he calls HarmonyOS. HarmonyOS, formerly known as Hongmeng, uses a brand new micro-kernel, more dynamic and customizable than Linux. Huawei sees HarmonyOS as the future of wearables, IoT, laptops and, yes, smartphones.
Huawei has stepped up its efforts to make HarmonyOS a reality earlier this year when the US Commerce Department added the company to its "list of entities." them without the approval of the government.
Many have accused the US government of using Huawei's ban as a political weapon in China's trade war, but the motivation does not matter, the effect is the same. Huawei can not partner with Google to get the closed sources of Android that everyone wants, like the Play Store and Gmail. HarmonyOS gives Huawei a base on which to build new products that do not depend on an American company.
HarmonyOS is an open source, but it is only localized for the Chinese market at the moment. Or rather, it will be when people can get it. Huawei has not yet shown the interface features of the OS. Huawei speaks a great game in security. According to Richard Yu, CEO, HarmonyOS is "more powerful and secure than Android". It is impossible to say if it is true or not. Huawei's execution on security has been questioned in other contexts; The UK government has released a report on the company's security practices earlier this year. While there was no evidence that there had been any conspiracy to introduce backdoors or other spyware into the British telecommunications services, Huawei has been criticized for poor security of the source code and an inability to guarantee that the code running on the devices is the code that it is supposed to load on them.
Modularized #HarmonyOS can be nested to flexibly adapt to any device to create a seamless device experience. Developed through the Distributed Capability Kit, it forms the basis of a shared developer ecosystem. # HDC2019 pic.twitter.com/2TD9cgtdG8
– Huawei Mobile (@HuaweiMobile) August 9, 2019
Huawei says the HarmonyOS micro-kernel only has one-thousandth of the code in the Linux kernel. Its unified multi-device IDE also means that the same underlying code can be run on many different devices. Thus, device manufacturers would not have to change the code for each hardware configuration. This is more like the experimental Fuchsia operating system of Google than Android. HarmonyOS also lacks compatibility with Android apps, but the company says developers will be able to easily change their code for HarmonyOS.
The first HarmonyOS devices will be TVs and will be available later this year. Huawei said it will gradually expand the use of HarmonyOS, but plans to continue using Android on the phones at the moment. However, Yu says that the company will be able to switch the HarmonyOS in a few days if it becomes impossible to use Android.
A few years ago, AMD announced the creation of a major joint venture with a new Chinese subsidiary. This company, called THATIC, has contributed to the financing of certain AMD activities in recent years (at the time of the announcement of this company, AMD declared a value of $ 293 million). Last week, we covered the news that the The US government has placed several AMD partners on its list of entities, limiting the export of technology to these companies.
Now, the Wall Street Journal to have published an article attacking the joint venture of AMD for breaching national security. The (paying) article begins by asserting that AMD gave China the "keys of the kingdom", that the THATIC agreement marked the beginning of the transformation from AMD to Ryzen and that the entire agreement "alarmed" the "national security officials of the United States". it is a threat to their goal to curb the supercomputing industry in China. ""
AMD's response to these claims, written by Harry Wolin, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, is wordless. According to the company, the report contains "several factual errors and omissions and does not give a true picture of the joint ventures that AMD entered into with THATIC in early 2016."
As of 2015, AMD has been briefing the Department of Defense, the Department of Commerce and many other organizations in the United States diligently and proactively. Government before entering the joint ventures. AMD has not been objected by any organization to the creation of joint ventures or technology transfer – technology that is less efficient than other commercially available processors. In fact, prior to joint ventures and technology transfer, the Department of Commerce had reported to AMD that technology transfer was neither restricted nor prohibited. Given this clear information, AMD continued its activities with the joint ventures.
The WSJ writes that AMD technology "is already helping China in its race against the United States to build the first next-generation supercomputer – an essential tool for advanced civilian and military applications." One of AMD's complaints about the coverage of the WSJ is its failure to discuss the protections put in place by the company to protect intellectual property from the risk of falling into the wrong hands, as well as the aforementioned close coordination with the Defense and Trade Departments.
It is impossible for ExtremeTech to to confirm Which side of the story is more accurate, but publicly known facts appeal more to AMD. Despite all the talk about how AMD would have supercharged the supercomputer revolution in China, the machines of the TOP500 are almost entirely based on Intel. C & # 39; not supposed to imply that Intel has done something uncomfortable with regard to China or national security. It's just a fact.
According to the TOP500, AMD still has two Opteron "Interlagos" supercomputers. There is a single Hygon Dhyana – AMD JV processor technology – is not the most powerful system on the list. That's # 43. The highest placed Chinese supercomputer is the TaihuLight, based on the Sunway SW26010. It was thought that previous versions of the processor were based on the Alpha 21164, but the 4th generation processor used in the TaihuLight would implement a different set of instructions and that AMD does not seem to have been involved with in any way.
The idea that AMD gave the keys to the realm of supercomputers makes sense when far less than 5% of the world's supercomputers currently use processors based on AMD technology.
Can the Chinese possibly join AMD to launch a multitude of products based on 7nm Ryzen? No According to one history On June 4, AMD does not provide CPU IP to THATIC beyond the first-generation Ryzen design. And the JV itself was structured so that the valuable IP of the processor is not simply passed on to the Chinese.
WCCFTech has published An excellent in-depth analysis of the division of information between AMD and its Chinese partner to allow a partnership allowing China to claim that its chips were manufactured in a native way without renouncing the keys of the kingdom mentioned by the WSJ. I would recommend it for more details, but the end result is that AMD seems to have designed its joint venture to protect exactly the intellectual property it is accused of.
One point that I have tried to raise a number of times with regard to the ongoing trade problems with China is that the situation is difficult. fundamentally unclear We – we mean "all those who do not have security clearances and / or deep expertise in trade negotiations" – work with imperfect information.
On the one hand, the warnings concerning Huawei and Chinese IP flight are prior to the Trump administration. On the other hand, the Trump administration has just reversed itself on Huawei, which allows them to buy back to US companies, although subject to restrictions. It was argued that the pressure on Huawei through these measures was an attempt to bring China to the negotiating table, which is not the case. Huawei is a real national security problem. The United States is perfectly capable of putting pressure on a big company from a rival country in order to realpolitik. It is also possible that national security problems are real.
Regardless of the specific status of Huawei, the theft of intellectual property and forced technology partnerships have been major complaints filed by American companies for years. From China's point of view, these relations are undoubtedly considered as fundamental requirements to prevent US-China relations from being misused and likely to be the means to Americans are not the only ones to benefit from Chinese manufacturing capabilities. The question of what is "fair" in the trade always depends on your position.
Between AMD's joint venture structure, its current lack of supercomputers and AMD's own comments on it, it seems unlikely, however, that the company has given the keys to anything. is. In 2015 – 2016, AMD had a processor architecture that it was working on and had not yet been formally launched. In 2019, the company is always striving to win hearts and minds in the business world. The chain of events as woven by the WSJ is not convincing – at least, based on what we know publicly.
It is not often that you find a colleague in a sister publication. Over the weekend, I immediately began to see PCMag and FedEx make the headlines, stating that the packaging company was refusing to deliver the Huawei product.s as a result of the embargo imposed on this company by the Trump administration.
As a reminder, PCMag (a sister publication of ExtremeTech, also owned by Ziff Davis) tried to ship a Huawei P30 already bought from the United Kingdom in the United States for further analysis. The Huawei P30 is a device already marketed by Huawei. The package arrived in the United States, then to Indianapolis, IN (a major FedEx distribution center), and then returned to the United Kingdom. When he crossed the pond, the following label was affixed:
It's totally ridiculous. Our British writer tried to send us his @HuaweiMobile P30 so that I can check something – not a new phone, our existing phone, already owned by our company, just sent between offices – and THIS has happened @ FedEx pic.twitter.com/sOaebiqfN6
– Sascha Segan (@saschasegan) June 21, 2019
The following is best described as a timeline. This involves a lawsuit (filed by FedEx), contradictory information from Parcelforce (a UK delivery company), inconsistent statements from FedEx and a continuing lack of clarity on a remarkably simple issue: can a ship ship to Huawei? to the United States Another person, when the product is not sold, is not new and does not represent in any way a US technology transfer or the assistance of a company US.
It is not illegal to own a Huawei product in the United States or the United Kingdom, and it is not illegal for individuals to ship Huawei devices from one to the other. # 39; other. The fact that it is forbidden for US companies to do business with Huawei does not mean that it is illegal for a company to carry the Huawei phone in a box to another private person. If shipping a package in a box was a business relationship with a company, then FedEx would literally maintain a "business relationship" with every company that has already shipped products through its service.
According to FedEx, the answer to this question is so unclear that it has sued Trump administration, alleging that the current situation "fundamentally forces FedEx to control the contents of the millions of parcels it ships each day, while this is an impossible task, logistically, economically and, in many cases, legally" continues FedEx. That the regulations of the Export Administrative Administration (EAR) prohibit: "to violate the right of common carriers to due process under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution because they improperly held the collective carriers accountable for shipments likely to violate the AER without requiring proof that they were aware of the existence of violations. "
According to US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross: "The regulations state that public carriers can not knowingly ship items in contravention of the list of entities or other export control authorities. does not require that a common carrier be a police officer or that he knows what's in each package. "
The issue in dispute, it seems, is whether FedEx must conduct a thorough inspection of the packages to determine the origin of the goods. FedEx believes that the law could allow the government to impute this to illegal goods if it does not. Secretary Ross's comments imply that this is not the proper reading of the law, at least in his opinion. Hashing in front of a judge may be the best way to clarify the issue and determine the level of inspection required by FedEx to comply with the law. before the company exposes itself to an important responsibility. PCMag was able to get to the P30 shipped from California to the east coast of its California offices, so the problem seems to be limited to international shipping, at least for now.
What this problem illustrates, more than anything else, is the enormous confusion created by the major changes to the law in the supply chain. There was confusion between Parcelforce and FedEx as to whether it would send this specific package even after FedEx clarified it. Repeated shipments were necessary and we still do not know until tomorrow if the aircraft will arrive.
A total trade war between the United States and China with extensive restrictions on a larger number of companies or confusion in transport that would have been caused by a Brexit without agreement later this year could be extremely confusing, especially if FedEx and other companies were legally enforcing trade embargoes by inspecting a large number of packages. We do not say things will be Play this way, but that kind of squeak on one phone could be a bad sign of things to come if trade talks between the US and China really break.
Follow @https: //twitter.com/PCMag
The aircraft was delivered from London to Indianapolis, but was returned to our London office. When we received it, the package contained a message stating that there was a "US government problem" with Huawei and the Chinese government and that the device could not be delivered to New Delhi. York. The delivery apparently caused a panic attack for a FedEx Europe parcel manager, FedEx told PCMag.
The Chinese government had already launched an investigation FedEx in May after parcels destined for China were mistakenly sent to the United States.
In one declarationFedEx has stated that the Export Administration Regulations ("REA") "in its current version, imposes on FedEx the unreasonable burden of controlling the millions of shipments passing through our network every day."
"FedEx is a transportation company, not a law enforcement agency," the statement said.
FedEx says US citizens expect their parcel services to be protected. The delivery company goes on to assert that regulations in the state "basically provide that FedEx monitors the contents of the millions of parcels that it ships each day while that turns out to be an impossible task, on the logistics, economic and economic plans ". case, legally. "
In an interview with Fox News, USA Wilbur Ross, Secretary of State for Commerce, said: "The regulation states that common carriers may not knowingly send articles contrary to the entity or to other authorities of the United States. Export Control It's not necessary for a common carrier to be a police officer or know what's in each package. "
United States companies are currently filing forbidden to do business with Huawei's foreign units because of the government's view that Huawei is a security risk. However, this does not prevent individuals from purchasing and importing the device into the country, or preventing Huawei devices from being sent to the United States from a foreign country.
In terms of exactly how the PCMag package was returned, there was a lot of confusion and pointing of the finger on the part of the delivery entities. FedEx said that the "mistake" that prevented the delivery of the package by PCMag was caused by an employee who misunderstood the blacklist. The parcel was then returned to Parcelforce, a unit of the Royal Mail of the United Kingdom.
Parcelforce's customer service, however, said the rejection was a "customs issue", a statement again contradicted by Parcelforce's chief executive in a statement. separate declaration to PCMag. Stay tuned for other updates as this story continues to grow.
This article was originally published on PCMag
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If you have not heard, the United States and China are engaged in a trade war. On the American side, one of the major problems is the problem of forced partnerships and intellectual property theft that US companies often report the price of doing business in China. China uses many sophisticated technologies, but according to the chip designers themselves, it will be impossible to meet Beijing's ambitious targets for local production if the United States refuses to cooperate.
There are alternatives in China, but the technological gap is too big, "said one of the leaders of one of China's leading artificial intelligence chip manufacturers, which relies on United States technology for chip design, said Nikkei "If we lose access to the US software or can no longer receive updates, our chip development will end up in a dead end."
Officials from NextVPU, an AI company created by former AMD employees, also echoed his remarks, including a representative of Semiconductor Manufacturing International Co, or SMIC, the most important foundry in mainland China. "We would use all the equipment and chip materials we have locally if their performance was sufficient," said a senior official at Semiconductor Manufacturing International Co., the largest chip manufacturing contract in China. "But we still need (US) equipment, materials, IP addresses and chip design software.It is unlikely that any of the world's chip makers .. is getting rid of American sellers soon. "
This chart from IC Insights clearly shows how flawed the market for chip design firms is.
SMIC, for example, is currently focusing on increasing production at the beginning of 14 nm, with plans to build a $ 10 billion smelter to focus on 14nm production for customers local. Assuming this facility is online and fully operational by 2022, China's production of integrated circuits will be about five years behind the rest of the world in terms of node leadership and seven to eight years in terms of volume production. However, according to reports, China 's overall self – sufficiency rate in semiconductor production would be only about 15%, due to the globalized and fragmented nature of the chain of custody. global supply.
Made in China 2025 plan demands 40% of Chinese Semiconductor Built in China by 2020 and 70% by 2025. According to experts, the currently achievable target is 20.5% by 2023. According to Nikkei, one of the obstacles China faces is that its own developers are more reluctant to rely on its local sites. technology produced or pay the higher prices associated with smaller-scale production from local fabs. This is another piece of this puzzle: companies do not perceive the Chinese product as an equivalent product, so they are less likely to buy it.
All of these preferences and positions are of importance, as long as China has a way to buy semiconductors made in the United States. If these roads closed completely, that would be another story. Having no other choice than to rely on its own know-how in semiconductor design, China would probably be late, probably for years. But such a decision from the United States would also attract considerable investment from the Chinese government, which would probably feel like they have no choice but to spend money to reproduce these pieces of the technological puzzle. that he could not buy elsewhere.
This is the central risk of any business, at least from the point of view of commercial enterprises. US companies that spend billions on developing new technologies do not want to give way to Chinese companies because of the cost of doing business. At the same time, however, they do not want to be totally excluded from these markets. Freezing the Chinese global semiconductor market by stifling access to American technology will not bring the Chinese back to vacuum tubes (although I would not mind seeing the first and only phone cell in the world powered by vacuum tubes). However, this could trigger a series of geopolitical events that have led other countries to agree to move away from US technology companies and sources if they see us as uncertain and unreliable partners.
Historically, it is extremely difficult to prevent the technology from wanting to acquire it. The United States could not stop other countries from inventing the atomic bomb after the Second World War. Firms with strong market conditions and near-monopolies in software distribution can benefit from these conditions, but even in these sclerotic markets, the change eventually occurs. Microsoft and Intel defined the PC sector from the late 1980s to the late 2000s, but now share space with various computer peripherals based on other operating systems and running different processors. architectures. Stuxnet – one of the most sophisticated malware programs ever created – has successfully delayed Iran's nuclear ambitions, without however preventing them alone.
Ironically, the impact of the current export control decisions by the United States is as unknown as the conditions governing other long-term bets made by semiconductor manufacturers. As Robert Palmer, former CEO of Digital Eleven, said: Designing microprocessors, it's like playing Russian roulette. You put a gun on your head, pull the trigger and discover four years later if you blew your brains.
It is always possible, of course, that the United States and China agree to resolve their trade disputes and that Chinese companies regain access to US technology. If that does not happen, however, we will be in Russian roulette for the long-term consequences. No country can afford to be completely cut off from the technology and semiconductor markets, which means that China would have little use other than to build its own knowledge base. and its own components, possibly as part of a broad international coalition with partners fearing to be treated. likewise by the United States.
There is no doubt that refusing to work with the Chinese would significantly slow down China's technological development – for a while. If that presents a long-term benefit to the United States – that is the question, is not it? Part of the argument is that the Chinese will recognize that they can not live without access to US semiconductor technology and that they will have enough incentive to play ball. But it is also possible that the Chinese, even if they are forced to return to the negotiating table for the moment, file their own long-term plans to move away completely from the technological dominance of the United States. . None of this means that the US declared objectives in the current trade war are less important, but they clearly show how problem-solving of this type can be complex.
Background image by SMIC.
The United States on Friday added five Chinese companies to a blacklist, limiting their access to US technology. The "list of entities" identifies entities for which there is a reasonable basis to believe, based on specific and explainable facts, that are involved, involved or have a significant risk of being or participating in activities contrary to US foreign national security policy ".
The companies in question are: Sugon, Higon, Chengdu Haiguang Integrated Circuit, Chengdu Haiguang Microelectronics Technology and Wuxi Jiangnan Institute of Computer Technology. One of them, Higon (also spelled Hygon), is a semiconductor joint venture between AMD and THATIC, in charge of selling x86 processors for the Chinese server market. THATIC itself consists of two separate joint ventures: Chengdu Haiguang microelectronics technology and Chengdu Haiguang integrated circuit design. If you look at the list above, these two companies are included.
In short, the US government seems to have just banned THATIC, the two companies that formed it, and the non-factory semiconductor company to design and sell x86 processors in China. According to the government's information document, all of these companies are owned in part by Sugon, which seems to be the main target company. The document of the Ministry of Commerce states It was decided that Sugon and the Wuxi Jiangnan Institute of Computer Technology were involved in activities:
United States … Sugon, the Institute of Computer Technology Wuxi Jiangnan and the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) are the three main Chinese entities in the development of exascale high performance computing . Sugon has publicly acknowledged a variety of military end-uses and end-users of his high-performance computers.
This would seem to be a serious problem for AMD's efforts to expand its operations in China as part of the THATIC joint venture. We contacted AMD and received the following statement:
We are currently evaluating the addition of five new entities to the list of entities by the Bureau of Industry and Security. AMD will comply with the regulations governing this list, just as we have complied with US laws to date. We are reviewing the order details to determine the next steps for our joint ventures with THATIC in China.
Reports of earlier this month stated that AMD did not license Zen Architecture 2 to THATIC. The future involvement of AMD, its revenue forecast and exposure to it are currently not clear.
The move comes as President Trump prepares to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in China next week and discusses how export laws can be used to radically change the competitive landscape. These determinations will change the balance of power between AMD and Intel in China, as well as the market available for Semiconductor in this nation the NYT reports that the United States is considering adding Hikvision to the list. Sugon is a leading exascale computer manufacturer in China, with 10 of the fastest Chinese supercomputers according to the TOP500. Sugon is a much smaller company than Huawei, but these specific lists will continue to impact the semiconductor industry given their exposure to the HPC market – a critical area in which AMD hopes to gain market share.
There was a time when computer capabilities were considered a national resource of the United States, and strict restrictions were imposed on the export of computer technologies. As Steve Jobs has already said: in 1999"The Power Mac G4 is so fast that it is classified as a supercomputer by the US government, and we are prohibited from exporting to 50 countries around the world." These restrictions have been considerably relaxed over the years. following, but some steps have been taken to tighten them since then. In 2015, for example, the Obama administration banned Intel, Nvidia and AMD from selling chips to the Chinese government. The Trump Administration's decision to further tighten the rules and lock down some subsidiaries is a welcome expansion of these restrictions, but not without precedent.