© filipefrazao84 dreamstime.com_ General | October 09, 2019
Futurwei caught in wake of Huawei ban
Futurewei, the U.S.-based R&D arm of blacklisted telecom giant Huawei, continues to shrink in the aftermath of the global telecom giant being added to the U.S. Entity list in May.
Futurewei, which operates under Huawei’s multi-billion-dollar R&D budget, laid off approximately half its U.S. workforce in Julyꟷapproximately 600 people and shuttered several locations. Approximately 200 of those layoffs occurred at the Santa Clara research facility, according to a WARN notice filed with the state. Engineer Paul Tam is quoted in a recent Financial Times story as receiving word of his layoff shortly after the ban was put in place last spring. The contract software engineer, who had worked at Futurwei for two years, said the company laid him off “pretty much immediately,” following the May action by the U.S. Government. Prior to the May ban, the two companies were virtually indistinguishable, but that changed quickly. A source quoted in the Financial Times said that immediately following the Entity List notification, Futurewei employees were told not to communicate with Huawei, and engineers were told to stop sending emails that contained technical information to the parent company, in order “to show that Futurewei was an independent company,” the source said. Additionally, Huawei employees were not allowed to visit the Futurewei offices. Keysight Technologies, which manufactures electronics testing and measurement equipment and software, said at a conference in September that Huawei was a “significant customer,” the FT reported, and had accounted for about three percent of its sales, historically. That number was expected to decrease to one to two percent of revenue next year, the Keysight source said. The FT also reported that Huawei, in an effort to counter the U.S. R&D shrinkage, recently moved the team of its global AI research network, OpenLab, to a new building in Central London, near the new Google digs.