Samsung laughs at Huawei's Mate 30 sans Google's Android
It didn't take much, but a quick email to Latin American customers during the Huawei Mate 30 launch in Munich today with the translated title "Enjoy apps, updates, and Google services" and a picture of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 inside the email with Samsung and Google logos side by side is all it took to draw attention to Samsung taking advantage of Huawei's misfortune. Within the email, Samsung provided a quote stating that the Galaxy Note 10 is "the best Android of the moment," with the Note 10's home screen in all its Google app glory.
Huawei Mate 30 Misfortune
Samsung laughs at Huawei and attempts to capitalize on the Mate 30's misfortune, but there's good reason as to why the Mate 30 doesn't come with Google apps and services. Unless you've been living under a rock, it's common knowledge in the Android world that Huawei is under the Trump Ban in the US, with President Donald Trump declaring Huawei "a threat to national security." As a result, American mobile OS owner Google refuses to side with Huawei (a company with which it was once so very chummy) against its national leader, so Google had to put Huawei on the Android license revocation list after the President declared Huawei was on the US Entity List in mid-May.
Huawei has received two "stays" within Android (May 19th-August 19th, August 19th-November 19th), but only to update with security patches and some small UI updates. The nice surprise in it all is that Huawei's P30 Pro is getting Google's new system update, Android 10, but the Mate 30, announced today, won't ever see it. And the Mate 30 and potential buyers suffer because of the political divide in US/China relations currently.
Is Samsung justified in capitalizing on Huawei's Mate 30 Misfortune?
Some will look at Samsung in this and make them out to be villainous, terrible, hardhearted, callous, and just downright cruel for cracking a competitive joke on Huawei. But, the truth of the matter is that, if Huawei and Samsung were in opposite positions, Huawei would probably be doing the same amount of laughing (if not more) than Samsung.
The longstanding Samsung-Huawei rivalry
Huawei and Samsung have been longstanding rival OEMs within Android. Huawei has seen Samsung dominate the Android landscape for a long time and has done everything it could to put a stop to it — even rushing its Mate X foldable to market so as to force Samsung to rush its own Galaxy Fold so that Samsung could get to market first, before Huawei. Additionally, Huawei does have a bit of Samsung envy, but Huawei envies Apple and Samsung equally. Both are ahead of it in terms of profit and sales, though Huawei is second only to Samsung in global shipments (Apple sells fewer phones than Huawei but sells more internationally and has more money in the bank than Huawei).
Huawei has kept Samsung's reach out of China
Anyone paying attention to Samsung internationally knows that the company has had something of a rocky past in China. Chinese vendors, including lower-tier vendors such as Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo, among others, have been able to churn out flagship phones at budget-friendly prices and sell them to Chinese customers, while Samsung Galaxy phones have seen declining sales. To add fuel to the fire, Samsung's sales in the first two quarters of 2019 have been lackluster in China, so small they haven't even registered in the top-selling vendors. Meanwhile, Huawei's market share has seen impressive numbers in Q1 and Q2 2019 with 34% and 36% market share, respectively.
Huawei's falling hegemony in Latin America
The same can be said for Huawei's hegemony or stronghold in Latin America. The company thrived in the region prior to the US ban in May, just four months ago. Prior to the Ban, Huawei had become the second-largest smartphone brand in Latin America. After the Ban took effect, Huawei dropped in market share, as both Samsung and Motorola gained in theirs. Analysts say that in Q2 2019, Samsung gained in all big regional markets in Latin America due to price cuts on the Galaxy J and Galaxy A series, not to mention Samsung's chief strategy — increasing its spending on advertisements and marketing.
Rumors have swirled all year that 2019 was the year Huawei would finally force the market to "bend to its will," where Shenzhen's Pride would push the South Korean juggernaut out of its top global spot. And yet, with the Trump Ban in place and Huawei's hopes of selling phones in the US dashed, it'll never happen this year. The Trump Ban has caused Huawei to lose out in Europe, Latin America, and continues to remind Huawei that it won't get a foothold in the US without overcoming some major obstacles.
With Samsung's fortunes on the rise in Latin America, and Huawei's Mate 30 event where the company released a flagship without what many consider to be the "flagship mobile OS" worldwide (that is, Google's Android), Samsung figured its misfortune marketing would resonate with Latin American customers.
Huawei agrees with Samsung's misfortune marketing in theory, if not in practice
Some would argue that Samsung's misfortune marketing is downright cold and callous, but there's good reason for it. Samsung and Huawei are still rivals in mobile, and Samsung's phones are still not selling in Huawei's home country (not by a long shot). So with that said, Samsung has a vested interest in still reminding customers that its brand is the better mobile brand than Huawei.
And, to be honest, Huawei agrees with Samsung's misfortune marketing in theory if not in practice for one reason: because Huawei believes Google's Android is financially profitable, too. This is why the company took to the stage recently to unveil two new colors for the current P30 Pro it announced earlier this year: to market Android for as long as it can.
The P30 Pro is the last Huawei smartphone to get Android 10 or any new Android system update (as of now), and Huawei thinks enough of the Android-powered smartphone to continue marketing it instead of breaking with it and making a new start. If Huawei believed breaking with Android was a good thing, that it could make profit sans Google apps and services, the company would put HarmonyOS on the P30 Pro and get on with things.
It isn't doing that, and up until now, has insisted it would like to remain with Android. There's a good reason for that: Android is the mobile OS that makes money and, without it, companies bleed cash. Huawei need only ask Samsung what it was like to launch Tizen and see little cash flow behind it.
When Huawei announced the P30 Pro's Android 10 eligibility and gave it two new colors, it didn't do it for the sake of making an announcement, but to alert its Android-loving customers, "there's still an Android phone in our lineup, don't give up on us yet." That Android phone is the "last of the mobile Mohicans," but if it's enough to keep some customers with Huawei until they can get things "re-sorted" out with Trump and the US, it'll do.
Counterpoint Research says that Huawei's financial decline in Latin America will continue if the Ban continues. And unfortunately for Huawei, Samsung, who never misses an opportunity to make its rivals pay with revenge marketing, will continue to do what it does best — at Huawei's expense (pun intended).