SAN JOSE, Calif. – Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola and other major U.S. high tech companies should be barred from doing business in China. That's the logical conclusion I would draw from a letter from eight U.S. senators to the Obama administration asking it to investigate Huawei Technologies.
In the letter obtained by the New York Times, the Republican senators suggest Huawei is bidding for a deal to supply communications equipment to Sprint/Nextel. They also suggest the Administration may be negotiating to let Huawei acquire U.S. companies. (In the past, Huawei tried to buy 3Com and 2Wire.)
Huawei is not a new name to U.S. engineers. Indeed, its technical people are among the organizers and presenters at this week's Hot Chips conference at Stanford, and the company maintains a prominent office here in Silicon Valley.
The senators note Huawei has ties to and has received funding from China's army. OMG! Of course there are probably few U.S. high tech firms that have not participated in multimillion dollar programs at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
They also suggest Huawei has supplied communications systems to Iran and to Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Of course the U.S. has had no role in fostering the high tech businesses now flourishing among China's adversaries such as Taiwan.
The senators' letter suggests Huawei's agenda is to spy on the U.S. government. I suppose it's possible some people may see opportunities here, but to me this still smacks of Cold War era commie paranoia. And I suppose no member of the U.S. intelligence community has ever approached Cisco, HP or Motorola about bugging a PC, basestation or router in Beijing.
Perhaps I am paranoid, too. But I think it would be interesting to trace what donations certain Huawei competitors have made to these senators.