The company hasn’t been shy about wanting Huawei’s business. In its latest earnings call, CEO Steve Mollenkopf said Qualcomm was determining how it could sell to every phone maker, “including Huawei.” However, there weren’t indications of a lobbying campaign at the time.
It also comes soon after Huawei settled a patent dispute with Huawei by paying $1.8 billion and striking a new license deal, although the two events aren’t necessarily linked.
A few companies have managed to get exceptions to the US ban through licenses, such as Intel, Micron and Xilinx. Qualcomm isn’t necessarily attempting an unrealistic feat. Even so, success is far from guaranteed. Smartphones represent a key part of Huawei’s business, and allowing a major exception like this could be seen as weakening the ban. It might also be deemed inconsistent when software companies like Google are still barred from interacting with the Chinese firm.