THE BALLAD of ZTE has taken another twist, as the Trump administration says the company can start "limited" activity.
The company had been banned from trading with the US, including purchasing any US made components. It is this that led to a more-or-less complete shutdown of operations globally, and no way to fix the urinals in the HQ toilets.
Since then, after saying how sorry it was for breaking trade embargoes, the company has paid $1bn fine and completely replaced its board of directors in order to sort out the mighty Orange One's wrath.
Still on his wish list is an independent team, appointed by the US to regularly check for compliance in the US.
Now after two months in the wilderness, the US government has confirmed it will let ZTE support its existing users and run its existing networks in a temporary ruling set to run for… uh…. the rest of July. Ouch.
Presumably, that's because by then we'll have a clearer idea of what ZTE's future is really going to look like and, in the meantime, the US Commerce Department has emphasised that the ban was "in force and effect".
The deal to save ZTE, which was likely to collapse after the original ruling, was forged by Donald Trump himself, causing a bipartisan group of Senators to criticise it heavily - both for the way it was arranged and for the fact that the deal doesn't actually give any significant reassurance about security.
Many on both sides of the divide are genuinely concerned that backdoors and listening devices represent a genuine possibility, with gathered information being fed back to Chinese government agencies.
The move has thrown ZTE's roadmap out of the window. At MWC this year it launched the ZTE Axon with dual screens - a first, hampered by an obvious bezel between the two screens and the fact that folding left both exposed to being smashed up. μ
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