Tech | August 10, 2020 6:45 am

Could the US’s WeChat Ban End Up Hurting Apple?

Sometimes, targeting one company can adversely affect another

Apple store
Customers at an Apple Store.
EEIM/Creative Commons

Does WeChat have a future in the United States? The company is currently facing an executive order from the Trump administration which would force it to be sold or risk being banned within the US. It’s something that could have a devastating effect for people who use it too keep in touch with family and friends in China — but it turns out that the effects of the executive order could be felt by far more than one company.

In a new article at The Verge, Chaim Gartenberg explored how the potential ban might adversely affect Apple. Apple isn’t the only high-profile tech company which could be affected, but it might be the one with the highest profile. And, as Gartenberg explains, the way that different tech companies form a kind of ecosystem makes it difficult to remove one large player without there being wider consequences:

Apple has a significant Chinese customer base, and nearly all of its critical manufacturing and assembly partners are based there. Trump’s ban might not only force Apple to remove WeChat from its App Store — which would destroy Apple’s Chinese smartphone business — it could existentially change how Apple is able to build and sell new products in the future.

As the article notes, also at issue here is Apple’s high degree of control over its own systems, as opposed to rival Android. Gartenberg speculates that, in order to save its business in China, Apple might need to move towards a more Android-like model.

The Verge’s article is a complex look at the ways in which technology and politics can converge — and the ways in which they can become inseparable as a result.

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