After the US banned Huawei, Google decided to withdraw its services from the Chinese firm’s phones. On Tuesday, the US announced a 90-day reprieve for Google and others to ensure current users of Huawei phones were not affected. Mint decodes the long-term implications.
Will Huawei’s phones be less appealing now?
Google’s decision to withdraw its services from Huawei will not stop the Chinese company from selling smartphones, but the phones will no longer have the same appeal without Play Store, Android updates and many of Google’s other apps. Play Store is the most trusted source of Android apps, with more stringent checks and balances than any other Android app store. While the new phones will run the open source version of Android with Huawei’s custom user interface, they will not get any of the updates and new features Android users look forward to every year. These phones will get software updates from Huawei.
Will Huawei’s market share be affected?
Huawei was Europe’s third-largest vendor with a market share of 17.7% in April, says Statcounter. If consumers in Europe shun new Huawei phones, this may benefit Chinese firms with similar DNA and phones in the price range where it is dominant. The US ban hardly matters as Huawei is not among the top five phone makers there and has a market share less than Google’s 2.4%. Even in India, Huawei is not among the top five phone makers and has a market share less than Realme’s 6%. Despite the slump in the Chinese market, Huawei can fall back on it as the firm is the second-largest vendor with a 23.5% market share.
Can Huawei bounce back?
Huawei has the technological resources to bounce back, say experts. It could focus on a new operating system (OS). Reports say it has a new OS ready as an alternative. In the short to medium term, its market may be hit.
What if China bans US phone makers?
Experts say that Huawei and the Chinese government work closely. So a retaliation by China cannot be ruled out. If things escalate and Huawei and the US are unable to reach an agreement, there may be repercussions for US original equipment makers (OEMs) in China. This includes Apple, the largest smartphone vendor in China with a 25% market share as of April, according to Statcounter. China was the third-largest market for Apple after the US and Europe. A ban on Apple in China would be a blow for the US phone maker.
What does this mean for Google’s ties with other phone makers?
Smartphone OEMs have earlier experimented with open source OSes, so they won’t be totally dependent on Google’s Android. Samsung came up with Tizen and Mozilla launched Fire OS. There was also Cyanogen OS. But none of these could become an alternative to Android. After Google’s move to stop services for Huawei, other phone makers may not want to be at the mercy of Google and thus may start working on alternative OSes. However, lack of access to Play Store will be an issue.