ProtonMail is in talks with Huawei Technologies Co. to include its encrypted email service on future mobile devices, as part of the Chinese phone manufacturer's plan to have an alternative to the Alphabet Inc. Google ecosystem.
The ProtonMail service, a Swiss company, could come pre-configured on future Huawei mobile devices or be offered within its app store, AppGallery, said Andy Yen, chief executive of ProtonMail. The company has not yet made a final decision regarding offering its service on the Huawei channel, he said.
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Huawei could lose its access to Google's programs after the United States blacklisted it in May. This implies that American companies need a special license to do business with the Chinese company. The restrictions also affect updates to the Google Android operating system that powers all of its smartphones abroad, and without which Huawei cannot offer essential applications such as Gmail. As a result, Huawei has worked quickly to create its own mobile operating system, HarmonyOS, and to recruit developers to offer services in its app store.
"What they see in us is an alternative to Google in case they can no longer offer Google services," Yen said in an interview.
ProtonMail is currently offered through the Google Play store and choosing to join the Huawei app store would ensure that customers of the Swiss company have access to the application even if Google is blocked, it reads in a blog post which describes the company's considerations.
Representatives of Huawei and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comments.
Despite the company's efforts to generate its own solutions, Huawei's smartphone sales abroad could be halved in the next 12 months if phone owners cannot use Google Maps or other Google services, said Charles Shum, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, in a note this week.
Yen said that while his company wants to maintain strict neutrality in any political issue, the decisive factor in joining forces with Huawei would be whether it can guarantee the security and privacy of its users.
The alliance with Huawei would open ProtonMail services to a wider audience, but "we have to compare this with other risks when doing business, especially in China, because you never really know who you are working for," said Yen.
Discussions with Huawei fit into a broader trend among Chinese suppliers that are beginning to seek alternatives to American technology, amid growing US trade tensions. with China, he said.
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"It is a business opportunity for all of Europe to provide a viable alternative to American technology and provide real competition," said the manager.
ProtonMail, based in Geneva, offers its 17 million global users an end-to-end encrypted email service. It also stores information in its own data centers, including one located in a heavily sheltered bunker under 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) of granite rock, according to its website. The company was launched in 2014 while its founders were still researchers at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
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2019-09-06T18: 31: 12-05: 00
2019-09-06T18: 37: 12-05: 00
Huawei sees ProtonMail as a Gmail alternative for US sanctions