Silicon Valley eyes next big thing rather than taking on Huawei

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If Washington thinks US tech companies are about to jump at the idea of building a new national champion in the 5G mobile communications business, it probably needs to think again.

The idea was pitched last week by William Barr, attorney-general, as an antidote to what the White House has come to see as its Huawei problem: that allowing a Chinese-owned company to dominate the mobile communications infrastructure market will present an unacceptable national security risk.

A quick way to get the US back into the game, according to Mr Barr, would be for US interests to buy control of European equipment makers Nokia and Ericsson. Among the most natural companies to lead such a push would be Cisco Systems, the leading maker of data networking gear.

It was Cisco’s routers and switches, acting as the conduit for the internet, that did much to undermine the old powers of the telecoms equipment business in the…

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