THE DEATH by a thousand cuts facing Huawei in the wake of the White House ban seems set to take its first big scalp, as rumours fly that the company is exiting the PC business.
Several sources have reported that Huawei has stopped the development of new models in its well-received MateBook range and suppliers have found their parts orders cancelled.
The story, first reported by DigiTimes and corroborated by Notebookcheck based on conversations on the floor of Computex, suggests that Huawei has made several overtures that it plans to shutter its PC business.
One such order, for 16in display panels, suggests that Huawei has cancelled plans for a larger MateBook, probably a bezel-less 15.6in device.
Other suppliers have been told to suspend deliveries of components and whilst Huawei has doubtless been scouring the earth for non-US-affected components, there's every likelihood that it has been either priced out or simply can't get hold of what it needs.
If the latter is true, we could be about to see the first major scalp for those who want to see Huawei fail - the closure of its PC business.
Although less high profile than the mobile phone range, the MateBook series has been praised, ironically for its design, sympathetic to Apple, with many calling the Windows-powered machine "MacBook Killers".
As such, shuttering the range would be a tragedy. We've been using MateBooks in the office for a couple of years now, and they've been superb. We even have a review of the latest model waiting to go live but felt that until the situation is resolved, it was misleading to publish.
Another option for Huawei would be to sell the range to a rival, but anyone who remembers the whole IBM-Lenovo debacle a few years ago will know that the sale will lead to intense scrutiny from both governments (US and China) and could be caught up in red tape for months or even years.
Either way, the immediate future of the Matebook range is looking hella sketchy. Thus far, Huawei is yet to comment on the reports. μ
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