Google wants Huawei back

Google wants Huawei back

Huawei may have a tough time convincing users to buy an Android smartphone without Play Store, outside China. Losing Huawei as an OEM partner is expected to have financial implications for Google.

Google isn’t too happy to lose Huawei as an OEM partner and has applied to the US government to lift the ban on business dealings with the Chinese company. According to a news report in Android Authority, Android and Google Play vice president Sameer Samat told the media.

Google is reportedly eager to work with Huawei again, after telling German news publication DPA that it has applied for licensing with the US government.

This comes after US president, Donald Trump claimed that Huawei is a danger to American national security in May 2019. Trump then went on to sign an executive order allowing his government to block any trade between the US and a foreign organisation deemed as a threat — i.e. Huawei – even though the company has denied that its products could be used for espionage.

“Google is prohibited from working with Huawei on new device models or providing Google’s apps including Gmail, Maps, YouTube, the Play Store and others for preload or download on these devices,” says Google.

Despite the ban, a number of American companies have been permitted to work with Huawei and other Chinese companies under strict licensing and regulations from the US government.

“We have continued to work with Huawei, in compliance with government regulations, to provide security updates and updates to Google’s apps and services on existing devices, and we will continue to do so as long as it is permitted.”

Since news of the ban broke, Huawei has been working relentlessly to replace Google Mobile Services which runs on all Android devices and is the core system of support behind both the Google Play Store and a number of security features.

Beginning in March 2020, all newly launched Huawei devices will now operate Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) and users will be able to access apps through the Huawei AppGallery.

Although, “due to government restrictions, Google’s apps and services are not available for preload or sideload on new Huawei devices,” says Google.

Coronavirus fears – Google and Amazon limit employee travel

Photo by Olly Curtis/Future via Getty Images

Google is preventing employees from traveling to Italy, Iran, Japan, and South Korea because of outbreaks of the novel coronavirus. A Google employee in Switzerland has a confirmed case of the virus.

Google is preventing employees from traveling to Italy, Iran, Japan, and South Korea because of outbreaks of the novel coronavirusBusiness Insider reported. Amazon is asking employees to defer all nonessential travel, a spokesperson confirmed to The Verge, which includes domestic travel within the US.

Both companies had already halted employee travel to China, and Google temporarily closed down its offices in China at the end of January.

A Google employee in Zurich, Switzerland, has the novel coronavirus, a spokesperson confirmed to The Verge. “They were in the Zurich office for a limited time, before they had any symptoms,” the spokesperson said in an email.

Amazon senior vice president Dave Clark wrote in an email that employees should not schedule meetings that call for travel until at least the end of April, The New York Times reported. The company is one of the leading buyers of corporate air travel, and it booked $220 million in flights in 2017.

Amazon is also canceling all on-site interviews for job candidates, Gizmodo reported. Interviews will be held over video chat.

There are currently over 83,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, worldwide. China has the largest number of cases, but outbreaks are escalating in countries like Japan and South Korea, which now has over 2,300 confirmed cases and 13 deaths.

The tech industry has seen significant impact from the ongoing outbreaks, including store closures across China and production delays. Organizers canceled Mobile World Congress after companies like Amazon, ZTE, and Sony pulled out, and Facebook canceled the in-person portion of its annual F8 developer conference.

Google celebrates Leap Day with an animated doodle

(CNN) – Google jumped at the chance to share a new animated doodle on Saturday.

In celebration of Leap Day, which only comes around once every four years, the animation depicts the number 29 in the center of the Google logo. The digit between the numbers 28 and 1 symbolizes the extra day in February.”Today’s Doodle is jumping for joy on Leap Day, the 29th day of February that only occurs about every four years, to keep our calendars in alignment with the Earth and sun,” Google said.”We HOP you have a good one — Happy Leap Day!”

Why there’s an extra day

Our calendar has 365 days in a year, because that’s about how long it takes the Earth to orbit the sun. Technically, though, it takes the Earth 365 ¼ days to circle the sun (that’s a solar year), which means our calendar is off by a quarter of a day a year.To fix the discrepancy, Pope Gregory XIII approved the Gregorian calendar and coined the term “leap year.” February 29 was established as the official date to add to a leap year.

AMEX Staff mislead small business owners to boost card signups

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for American Express

American Express employees misled and coerced scores of small-business owners into signing up for cards, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.

Employees reportedly checked customers’ credit scores against their wishes, “misrepresented” the fees and rewards associated with the cards, and sometimes issued cards that customers didn’t ask for, according to more than a dozen current and former employees across sales, customer service, and compliance who spoke to the Journal.

Brian Daughtry, who owns a disaster-cleanup company in Ohio, was one such small business owner who one day received a $250 bill in the mail for a card he didn’t agree to sign up for. After he called to dispute the charge, the company canceled the bill.

The employees who spoke to the Journal said the practices came after Costco cut ties with American Express in 2015, leaving the company to chase after small-business owners who were frequent Costco shoppers, and therefore heavy spenders on AMEX credit cards connected to the wholesale chain.

Employees reportedly checked customers’ credit scores against their wishes, “misrepresented” the fees and rewards associated with the cards, and sometimes issued cards that customers didn’t ask for, according to more than a dozen current and former employees across sales, customer service, and compliance who spoke to the Journal.

Brian Daughtry, who owns a disaster-cleanup company in Ohio, was one such small business owner who one day received a $250 bill in the mail for a card he didn’t agree to sign up for. After he called to dispute the charge, the company canceled the bill.

The employees who spoke to the Journal said the practices came after Costco cut ties with American Express in 2015, leaving the company to chase after small-business owners who were frequent Costco shoppers, and therefore heavy spenders on AmEx credit cards connected to the wholesale chain.

Employees reportedly checked customers’ credit scores against their wishes, “misrepresented” the fees and rewards associated with the cards, and sometimes issued cards that customers didn’t ask for, according to more than a dozen current and former employees across sales, customer service, and compliance who spoke to the Journal.

Brian Daughtry, who owns a disaster-cleanup company in Ohio, was one such small business owner who one day received a $250 bill in the mail for a card he didn’t agree to sign up for. After he called to dispute the charge, the company canceled the bill.

The employees who spoke to the Journal said the practices came after Costco cut ties with American Express in 2015, leaving the company to chase after small-business owners who were frequent Costco shoppers, and therefore heavy spenders on AmEx credit cards connected to the wholesale chain.

In a Business Insider report recommending the best credit cards for small business owners to get in 2020, three of the nine top picks belonged to American Express, which boasts some cards offering travel benefits, no annual fees, and high-points returns.

Business accounts drive about 30% of the company’s revenue through the variety of services that business owners can sign up for, the Journal noted. 

A spokesperson for the company said in a statement to Business Insider that the telesales team referenced in the report was responsible for approximately 0.25% of the 65 million total cards American Express issued between 2014 and 2019, and the company found that less than 0.25% of the group’s sales activities were identified as “inconsistent with our sales policies.”

“We have rigorous, multilayered monitoring and independent risk-management processes in place, which we continuously review and enhance to ensure that all sales activities conform with our values, internal policies and regulatory requirements,” he said. “We carefully examine any issues raised through our various internal and external feedback channels and audits, and we do not tolerate any misconduct.”

American Express is not the only company in recent years that has been accused of padding its client numbers by enrolling customers in cards or accounts without their consent or knowledge.

In 2016, it was revealed that employees across Wells Fargo opened 2 million retail accounts without customers’ knowledge. Reuters reported at the time, citing sources familiar with the matter, that 10,000 small business accounts were also affected by the scandal.

The alleged effect on small businesses was also raised during Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf’s testimony to the House Financial Services Committee in the wake of the scandal, but he denied any knowledge of a ripple effect from the retail accounts.