Encrypted email service ProtonMail is not ‘partnering’ with Huawei

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Privacy-focused email service ProtonMail said that a Bloomberg report characterizing talks with Huawei as discussions about “a potential partnership” was misleading, ZDNet reports. 

Why it matters: As evidenced in a blog post seeking to clarify the situation, Switzerland-based ProtonMail has a vested interest in reassuring its customers of its independence from outside control. 

  • A section of the blog post titled, “Will supporting Huawei Devices put ProtonMail under Chinese control?” detailed how the company is exempt from complying with Chinese government requests due to its location outside the country. 

Details: The blog post also explained that the discussions between the two companies were about the possibility of making ProtonMail available to Huawei devices through the Huawei AppGallery. 

  • ProtonMail is already available to Huawei devices through the Google Play store. 

Context: Partnership or not, the talks come at a time when Huawei is searching for alternatives to Google following its inclusion on a US trade blacklist in May. 

  • As a consequence, Huawei devices launched after the May ban will not have access to the Google Play store and related services. 
  • Its upcoming P40 smartphone may ship running its new HarmonyOS and will not have Google Mobile Services preinstalled, according to Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s consumer business group.