Huawei was added to the Entity List of the US Department of Commerce in May, preventing the company from accessing its US-based supply chain. Sure, this was terrible news for the company, as it prevented Google's Google Play Services version of Google's licensing, ARM Holdings' chip designs, and Qualcomm, Intel, and Micron components. The ban also harms US companies. In 2018, Huawei spent $ 11 billion on parts and software from the United States.
Exactly a month ago, US President Donald Trump announced that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping had signed a truce that temporarily prevented an escalation of the US-China trade war. While Huawei was on the list for security reasons, the president himself said that the company could be used as a negotiating platform to find better conditions for a trade agreement between the two countries. And after the ceasefire was announced, Trump said, "US companies can sell their equipment to Huawei, we're talking about equipment that does not have a major national security problem." That sounded like good news for Huawei at the time, but the truth is that nothing has changed in the past month. Huawei still can not access its US supply chain and Google's close ties with the Chinese manufacturer remain disrupted.
Huawei and Google planned to sell their smart speaker in the US.
And today The Information (via Android Police) reveals that the ban has cost the world another smart speaker. An anonymous source in Huawei said the company and Google spent a full year developing this speaker with Google Assistant. Ironically, Huawei wanted to sell the speaker in the US, although the government does not allow Huawei phones to be bought through state carriers. But unfortunately the ban has put the kibosh on the project. The world certainly does not need another intelligent speaker, but it would have been interesting to see how the two technology giants went out.
A poor performance by Siri and a high price have slowed demand for Apple's HomePod
It is interesting that Huawei wanted to sell his smart speaker in the US. Can you imagine how much attention a Huawei Smart Speaker would receive, bearing in mind that companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple hear snippets of conversations from users? While transcribing these conversations is allegedly done to improve the interaction of the digital helpers with the users, it certainly sounds familiar. In fact, this sounds exactly as the US legislator fears most from Huawei. The company is considered a national security threat in the US as rumors indicate that it has built in backdoors into its devices to send information from US consumers and companies to Beijing. Under Chinese law, the government may require Huawei to collect information on its behalf. Of course, the company has denied this. The report also seems to indicate that Huawei and Google had a closer relationship than any other company outside the two companies (although they had teamed up for the Nexus 6P 2015).
Amazon had dominated the market for smart speakers, not surprisingly, as it was the creator of the category. The first Echo devices were shipped in 2015, but Google is trying to catch up. In the first quarter of this year, Amazon shipped 4.6 million echo devices worldwide, which accounts for 22.1%. This was a decrease of 27.7% in the same quarter of the previous year. Google saw a sharp decline in its global smart speaker market share from 36.2% to 16.8%, even after 10% more devices were delivered during the period. Apple's HomePod speaker has not even qualified for a top 5 position worldwide. HomePod sales were negatively impacted by the underperformance of Siri versus competing wizards and the original price of $ 349 (now $ 299).
There is still plenty of room for growth in the states. At the end of last year, only 21% of adults in the US had a smart speaker, while the number of US households rose by 78% in 2018 to 118.5 million units.