May 21 (AP/UNB) -Huawei could quickly lose its grip on the No. 2 ranking in worldwide cellphone sales after Google announced it would comply with U.S. government restrictions meant to punish the Chinese tech powerhouse.
The Trump administration's move, which effectively bars U.S. firms from selling components and software to Huawei, ups the ante in a trade war between Washington and Beijing that partly reflects a struggle for global economic and technological dominance.
Google said it would continue to support existing Huawei smartphones but future devices will not have its flagship apps and services, including maps, Gmail and search. Only basic services would be available for future versions of the Android operating system on Huawei's smartphones.
Though the U.S. Commerce Department grants exceptions, the ban announced last week on all purchases of U.S. technology is thus apt to badly hurt Huawei, analysts say.
Washington claims Huawei poses a national security threat, and its placement on the so-called Entity List by the Trump administration last week is widely seen as intended to persuade resistant U.S. allies in Europe to exclude Huawei equipment from their next-generation wireless networks, known as 5G.
"This is major crisis for Huawei. Instead of being the world's largest handset manufacturer this year, it will struggle to stay two, but probably fall behind," analyst Roger Entner said. "How competitive is a smartphone without the most well-known and popular apps?"
Huawei will likely use its own, stripped-down version of Android, whose basic code is provided free of charge by Google. But the Mountain View, California, company said Huawei would not be authorized to use other Google software and services if the sanctions go forward as announced.
Google could seek exemptions, but would not comment on whether it planned to do so.
Entner, founder of Recon Analytics, said Google itself won't feel a large direct impact, "as consumers will shift to other Android devices. The biggest concern is not to be caught in the crossfire of two governments."
Gartner analyst Tuong Nguyen said 48% of Huawei's phone shipments last year were outside of China and the company will need to scramble not to lose market share.
Samsung led global smartphone sales in the first quarter of this year with a 23.1% share. Huawei was second with 19%, followed by Apple at 11.7%, according to IDC.
Huawei's smartphone sales in the U.S. are tiny — and the Chinese company's footprint in telecommunications networks is limited to smaller wireless and internet providers— so any impact on U.S. consumers of a Google services cutoff would be slight.
Hardware suppliers led by Qualcomm, Broadcom and Intel would also be forced to halt shipments to Huawei under the Commerce Department rule, which requires all U.S. technology sales to the company to obtain U.S. government approval unless exceptions are made.
The Commerce Department on Monday announced a 90-day grace period this week. In a report, the global risk assessment outfit Eurasia Group said that if the sanction process helps persuade European carriers to shun Huawei equipment, a full ban on purchases of U.S. technology products and services could be avoided.
Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., said in a statement late Sunday that it was complying with and "reviewing the implications" of the requirement for export licenses for technology sales to Huawei, which took effect Thursday. "For users of our services, Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices," it added.
The U.S. government says Chinese suppliers including Huawei and its smaller rival, ZTE Corp., pose an espionage threat because they are beholden to China's ruling Communist Party. But American officials have presented no evidence of any Huawei equipment serving as intentional conduits for espionage by Beijing.
Huawei, headquartered in the southern city of Shenzhen near Hong Kong, reported earlier that its worldwide sales rose 19.5% last year over 2017 to 721.2 billion ($105.2 billion). Profit rose 25.1% to 59.3 billion yuan ($8.6 billion).
Huawei smartphone shipments rose 50% in the first three months of 2019 to 59.1 million, compared with a year earlier, while the global industry's total fell 6.6%, according to IDC. Shipments from Samsung and Apple both declined.
Huawei defended itself Monday as "one of Android's key global partners." The company said it helped to develop a system that "benefited both users and the industry."
"We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally," the company said.
A foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, said China will "monitor the development of the situation" but gave no indication how Beijing might respond.
The U.S. order took effect Thursday and requires government approval for all purchases of American microchips, software and other components globally by Huawei and 68 affiliated businesses. Huawei says that amounted to $11 billion in goods last year.
That could certainly create some collateral damage for U.S. companies.
The California chipmaker Xilinx Inc. tumbled 4% Monday. David Wong, an analyst with Nomura, said Xilinx has benefited from demand in next-generation, 5G technologies and "action against a major maker of communications infrastructure equipment like Huawei likely poses risk for Xilinx."
Beijing, May 20 (AP/UNB) — Google is assuring users of Huawei smartphones the American company's basic services will work on them following U.S. government restrictions on doing business with the Chinese tech giant.
Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., said Monday it is complying with and "reviewing the implications" of the requirement for export licenses for technology sales to Huawei Technologies Ltd.
Last week's order follows U.S. government accusations that Huawei, the biggest maker of network gear for phone companies and the No. 2 global smartphone brand, is a security risk.
"We assure you while we are complying with all US gov't requirements, services like Google Play & security from Google Play Protect will keep functioning on your existing Huawei device," Google said on Twitter.
Huawei said it had no immediate comment. The company denies it facilitates Chinese spying.
Huawei, which uses Google's Android operating system, is the No. 2 global smartphone brand by number of handsets sold, behind South Korea's Samsung Electronics.
Google allows smartphone manufacturers to use Android and its basic services for free. Industry analysts say that means they would not be affected by curbs on sales or business interaction.
Transfer of hardware, software or services to Huawei or technical interaction with the Chinese company would be restricted by the U.S. order last week. It took effect Thursday and requires government approval for all purchases of American microchips, software and other components globally by Huawei and 68 affiliated businesses. Huawei says that amounted to $11 billion in goods last year.
The U.S. government says Chinese suppliers including Huawei and its smaller rival, ZTE Corp., pose an espionage threat because they are legally beholden to China's ruling Communist Party. But American officials have presented no evidence of any Huawei equipment serving as intentional conduits for espionage by Beijing.
Dhaka, May 19 (UNB) – One year after its launching, Bangladesh's first geostationary communications satellite Bangabandhu-1 started its commercial operation on Sunday with some television channels taking its services.
Owners of the TV channels handed over commercial agreements to Chairman of Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Limited (BCSCL) Shahjahan Mahmood at a programme at InterContinental Dhaka in the evening for taking the services of Bangabandhu-1 satellite.
The private channels are Deepto TV, Somoy TV, Bijoy TV, My TV, Jamuna TV and Bangla TV.
Besides, a memorandum of understanding was signed with Sonali Bank Ltd to manage its branch-to-branch and ATM connectivity using the satellite.
At the function, Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud inaugurated programmes marking the one year of the launching of the satellite and its marketing.
“With the agreements, private TV channels will be able to air programmes at less cost using our own satellite. Bangladesh is the 57th country to launch satellite in the space which is a matter of pride,” Hasan Mahmud said.
Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar said they are working to launch Bangabandhu-2 satellite into the orbit.
State Minister for Information and Communications Technology Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak and Chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Md Jahurul Haque also spoke on the occasion.
Bangabandhu-1 satellite started its experimental operation on September 4 last.
The satellite was launched into the orbit by US space transport company SpaceX on May 12 last year.
Jerusalem, May 17 (AP/UNB) — Facebook said Thursday it banned an Israeli company that ran an influence campaign aimed at disrupting elections in various countries and has canceled dozens of accounts engaged in spreading disinformation.
Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, told reporters that the tech giant had purged 65 Israeli accounts, 161 pages, dozens of groups and four Instagram accounts.
Although Facebook said the individuals behind the network attempted to conceal their identities, it discovered that many were linked to the Archimedes Group, a Tel Aviv-based political consulting and lobbying firm that publicly boasts of its social media skills and ability to "change reality."
"It's a real communications firm making money through the dissemination of fake news," said Graham Brookie, director of the Digital Forensic Research Lab at the Atlantic Council, a think tank collaborating with Facebook to expose and explain disinformation campaigns.
He called Archimedes' commercialization of tactics more commonly tied to governments, like Russia, an emerging--and worrying--trend in the global spread of social media disinformation. "These efforts go well beyond what is acceptable in free and democratic societies," Brookie said.
Gleicher described the pages as conducting "coordinated inauthentic behavior," with accounts posting on behalf of certain political candidates, smearing their opponents and presenting as legitimate local news organizations peddling supposedly leaked information.
"Our team assessed that because this group is primarily organized to conduct deceptive behavior, we are removing them from the platform and blocking them from coming back," he added.
The activity appeared focused on Sub-Saharan African countries but was also scattered in parts of Southeast Asia and Latin America, what Brookie called a "staggering diversity of regions" that pointed to the group's sophistication.
The fake pages, pushing a steady stream of political news, racked up 2.8 million followers. Thousands of people expressed interest in attending at least one of the nine events organized by those behind the pages. Facebook could not confirm whether any of the events actually occurred. Some 5,000 accounts joined one or more of the fake groups.
Gleicher said the misleading accounts primarily aimed to influence people in Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Angola, Niger and Tunisia.
The most significant audience engagement was generated in Malaysia, which has a vast media market and held a general election last year, according to Brookie and his team at the Atlantic Council.
Facebook investigations revealed that Archimedes had spent some $800,000 on fake ads, paid for in Brazilian reals, Israeli shekels and U.S. dollars. Gleicher said the deceptive ads dated back to 2012, with the most recent activity occurring last month.
Facebook shared a few examples of the fake content, including one post mocking 2018 Congolese presidential candidate Martin Fayulu for crying foul play in the elections that vaulted Felix Tshisekedi to victory. Many governments and watchdog groups condemned the elections as rigged and declared Fayulu the rightful winner.
Given the geographical variety of Archimedes' operations, "it's impossible to determine a single ideological thread," said Brookie. "They weren't pushing exclusively far-right or anti-globalist content. It appears to be a clear-cut case of spreading disinformation through economic incentive."
He added that Archimedes-linked pages pulled from the playbook of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, with widely amplified yet tailored messages targeting potential voters and "creating a specter of leaked information." Most impostor accounts shared a key tactic: posing as a campaigner for a particular candidate and then sharing opinions that actual supporters would find offensive.
Facebook has come under pressure to more robustly and transparently tackle misinformation aimed at sowing division and confusion around elections, since the revelation that the company was slow to detect and respond to Russian election meddling.
Thursday's disclosure, which Facebook pointed to as proof of its accelerating "progress rooting out abuse," underscored the extent to which private actors are leveraging the platform to meddle in elections and more broadly tap the "growing market for disinformation," said Brookie.
But the company's efforts to fight fake accounts are "often made in great haste," said Jonathan Klinger from the Israeli Digital Rights Movement, and if Archimedes does have legitimate links to political parties and candidates, Facebook can expect a legal battle.
On its website, Archimedes, which presents itself as consulting firm involved in campaigns for presidential elections, does not hide its efforts to manipulate public opinion. Rather, the company advertises it.
The site, featuring a montage of stock photos from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, boasts of its "own unique field within the social media realm" and its efforts to "take every advantage available in order to change reality according to our client's wishes."
Little information is available beyond its slogan, which is "winning campaigns worldwide," and a vague blurb about the group's "mass social media management" software, which it said enabled the operation of an "unlimited" number of online accounts.
A message seeking comment from the company was not immediately returned.
Archimedes' chief executive is Elinadav Heymann, according to Swiss negotiations consultancy Negotiations.CH, where he is listed as one of the group's consultants.
A biography posted to the company's website describes Heymann as the former director of the Brussels-based European Friends of Israel lobbying group, a former political adviser in Israel's parliament and an ex-intelligence agent for the Israeli air force.
Heymann did not return messages left with Daniel Hardegger, Negotions.CH's managing director. Shortly after The Associated Press got in touch, Hardegger said that Heymann requested that his biography be removed from the site.
Dhaka, May 16 (UNB)- The online ticketing platform, bdtickets.com, will start selling advance bus tickets for the Eid vacation from tonight (12am).
Airtickets for all domestic airline routes from all the airline operators is also available in the website, said a press release.
Payments can be done from the website through debit or credit or mobile financial services.
Customers can also call bdtickets.com’s call center (16460) to learn more about the service as well as book bus tickets.
In order to book tickets through call center, customers needs to be ready with enough bkash balance on their bKash wallet to complete the payment process.
Besides, the website and the call center, bus tickets from bdtickets will also be available from the retail points or RobiCash retail points located across the country.
More than 32000 retail points all over the country are now offering bus tickets to anywhere in the country on behalf of bdtickets.com.
More than 45 leading bus operators that includes Greenline Paribahan, Desh Travels, Shyamoli NR Travels, S. Alam, Sakuraa, Silk Line, Saintmartin Hyundai, Relax, A K Travels etc. are offering their tickets through bdtickets.com.