Google isn’t too happy to lose Huawei as an OEM partner and has applied to the US government to lift the ban on business dealings with the Chinese company. According to a news report in Android Authority, Android and Google Play vice president Sameer Samat told this to media.
The general opinion was that Huawei will have a tough time convincing users to buy an Android smartphone without Google’s bells and whistles including the Play Store, in markets outside of China, especially in Europe and India where Android phonemakers without Play Store and Google Services have continuously failed to flourish.
However, losing Huawei as an OEM partner is expected to have financial implications for Google as well as Huawei is one of the biggest smartphone OEMs. The company shipped 238.5 million smartphones in the entire CY2019 and was the second largest vendor after Samsung, according to a January report by Counterpoint Research. Though China is still their biggest market, Huawei has a strong presence in Europe too. According to Gs.statcounter, Huawei’s market share in Europe was 18.52% in January 2020.
“When it comes to smartphone shipments outside of China, Huawei is the second biggest Android vendor after Samsung. Losing Huawei last year has taken a huge toll on Google’s Play Store revenue because of their strong presence in Europe, where people spend a lot on subscriptions and apps. Working back with Huawei is in Google’s own interests,” said Rushabh Doshi, Research Director at Canalys.
Tarun Pathak, associate director at Counterpoint Research, agrees, adding, “Google would like to see Huawei more as a partner as Huawei is among the top three Android OEMs in terms of installed base. Huawei will need Google atleast outside China. So there are synergies for sure to work together rather being competitors in both hardware and software space.”
Following the trade ban by Trump administration on Huawei in 2019, the Chinese company lost access to Android license, Google services including Play Store and software updates. Huawei on its part readied its proprietary Harmony OS, based on the public version of Android, with its own independent app store. Some of the flagships Huawei smartphones including the recently released foldable screen phone Mate Xs runs on Harmony OS. Huwei also claims that its App Gallery is the third largest app store in the world with 400 million monthly active users. The company is planning to spend $1 billion to expand its app store and get more developers on board.
Doshi points out, harmony OS is playing a bigger role in expediting Google’s concern. Even if Huawei manages to get 20% of apps that are there on Play Store on its own App store, it will make sense for buyers.
Unlike third party stores, Google has a stricter vetting process and security checks for apps. Last week, Google took a dig at Huawei in a blog post, warning users to not sideload apps as they may not be reliable and even compromise user security. Doshi feels, there is no reason to believe that Huawei cannot enforce such security checks on its own stores.