Enterprise

The US finally lifts sanctions over ZTE

They can make phones again!

Published

on

If you’ve followed your history classes closely, you’ll know that relations between China and the US have been tenuous throughout the years. As of late, Chinese companies — specifically, ZTE — and the US government have constantly been at loggerheads with each other.

Now, a new chapter is finally trying to close off this volume in the China versus US saga.

Following ZTE’s eventual compliance with trade sanctions, the US government has lifted their indefinite ban over the company’s deals with American businesses. Once again, ZTE is free to obtain the parts essential to their phones from the US.

Previously, the US government initiated the ban in response to ZTE’s violations of trade policies with Iran. For reparation, lawmakers offered to stave off more repressive sanctions if ZTE paid fines and replaced their erring employees.

Despite the offer, ZTE failed to comply with these conditions. As a result, the US had no choice but to ban ZTE from initiating business with any American company. This presented a crippling scenario for the company. ZTE’s phones rely heavily on American components including Qualcomm, the company’s chip supplier.

For months, ZTE has crawled through a terrible limbo of being physically incapable of producing any phones. The company’s employees were left to twiddle their thumbs.

Eventually, President Donald Trump tried to rescue the company, citing lost Chinese jobs because of the job. Unfortunately, his rescue efforts came to no avail.

Now, the US has finally acquiesced to give ZTE another chance. Finally, ZTE took the offer and complied with US demands. The company has changed its board and paid US$ 1.4 billion in fines. Additionally, the company has added a compliance team hired by the US to monitor ZTE’s actions should they violate policies again.

Overall, this entire saga is a symptom of the US’ distrust over the Chinese agenda. Besides ZTE, Huawei, and Xiaomi are also feeling the heat of US tensions. At least, the ZTE brouhaha has ended. For now, at least.

SEE ALSO: ZTE’s new concept phone has two notches

Enterprise

You might need to pay Google for Android soon

Because of EU’s US$ 5 billion fine

Published

on

Will we soon have to pay to use Android? According to Google, that dystopic possibility might eventually become our reality.

Recently, the Silicon Valley giant butted heads with the European Commission over an anti-competition rap. According to the commission, Google is purposely preventing competitors from getting a leg up, creating a dangerous oligopoly on the mobile OS market.

Google currently requires phone makers to bundle eleven apps with their phones, if they want to use Android. The most concerning ones are Google’s Search and Chrome. The company draws much of its profits from their mobile ad revenue.

After weeks of deliberation, the EU has hammered down a guilty verdict on the accused. As a result, Google will pay a whopping US$ 5 billion in fines. On its own, the fine is just spare change for the multi-billion-dollar company.

However, the sanction also requires Google to unbundle the concerned apps from Android. Also, the EU requires Google to hand over an open-source version of their software to phone makers. As a result, Google’s entire revenue stream threatens to collapse. This also enables competitors to create their own versions of Android.

In response to this, Google CEO Sundar Pichai posted a statement on the company’s blog. Despite using a warm, imploratory tone, Pichai’s statement underscores a threat directed towards Google’s consumers and partners.

According to the post, Android’s ubiquity speaks for itself. Android powers 1,300 brands, 24,000 devices, and more than 1 million apps. Seemingly, the EU sanctions will undercut the millions of consumers that enjoy Android on a free basis.

Pichai concludes by introducing the possibility that Android might become a pay-to-play system.

“If phone makers… couldn’t include our apps… it would upset the balance of the Android ecosystem. So far, the Android business model has meant that we haven’t had to charge phone makers for our technology, or depend on a tightly controlled distribution model,” says Pichai.

If Google is issuing a threat, phone makers will initially feel the brunt of renewed pricing schemes. However, consumers will ultimately shoulder the responsibility of paying for their own mobile operating systems.

SEE ALSO: Android Oreo now on more devices but Nougat remains the most popular

Continue Reading

Enterprise

Xiaomi’s IPO performs poorly in stock market on first day [Update: It’s doing better now]

Could hamper its performance this year

Published

on

It’s a bad time to invest in China. After the escalating feud between ZTE and the US, more Chinese companies are feeling the brunt of tense Sino-American relations.

Presently, Chinese phone maker Xiaomi has made a lackluster debut on the stock market. Expecting a valuation of over US$ 100 billion, the company has punched in only US$ 54 billion in valuation, making only US$ 4.7 billion in the IPO.

As for individual stocks, Xiaomi opened to a tepid HK$ 16, much less than their expected HK$ 17.

Prior to the debut, controversies have mired the Chinese market. Just from the company’s perspective, Xiaomi has notoriously expanded their product lineup to include the divisive lifestyle market, most of which have not seen overwhelmingly positive returns yet.

Additionally, ZTE’s troubles with the American government have signaled that Chinese products still aren’t welcome in the West. So far, the issue has affected sales of other Chinese companies including Xiaomi and Huawei, despite their popularity in other countries. Of note, both companies still top the charts all over the world.

Regardless, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun remains confident that their disappointing IPO is only a minor setback to their overall plans. More importantly, he cites that Xiaomi’s goal of maintaining only a five percent profit is still on track.

However, the IPO trouble will undoubtedly cause speed bumps with the company’s plans to expand to the US later this year.

Update (7/10/2018): After the tumultuous debut, Xiaomi’s stocks showed signs of life the day after. During afternoon trading, the shares’ value rocketed up by 9 percent. As a result, their price increased by as much as HK$ 18.56, well above the company’s expectations.

The jump came as Xiaomi announced its inclusion into the Hang Seng Composite Index. The move allows investors from mainland China to invest in Xiaomi’s stocks. Arguably, Chinese investors show more interest toward the company’s future compared to other foreign investors looking at the political issues in the US.

Xiaomi had already decided on the inclusion in the past. However, the company opted to postpone the move in favor of the Hong Kong debut.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 live images leak showing no chin, no notch

Continue Reading

Enterprise

Galaxy S9 is Samsung’s least popular phone since the Galaxy S3

According to latest sales reports

Published

on

After the ancient rulers of Nokia, the twin kingdoms of Apple and Samsung conquered the land with an iron fist. Under their rule, the land grew and prospered with iPhones and Galaxies.

We all know the story by now. Samsung and Apple have stood atop the smartphone industry for more than a decade. With how technology is developing, it seems likely that both brands will remain as two of the top phone manufacturers.

However, Samsung’s sales reports hint that it’s losing its grip on the industry’s peak.

According to the company’s earning guidance for the second quarter, Samsung lost 0.7 percent in sales. Last semester, Samsung posted consolidated sales of 60.56 trillion in Korean won. This semester, the company posted only approximately KWR 58 trillion. However, according to The Verge, the company still saw an 11 percent increase in overall profit.

While 0.7 percent doesn’t seem like much, the loss is the first time in a while that Samsung’s sales have not grown. For the past quarters, Samsung has enjoyed record-breaking numbers on its sales column. The positive trend has finally buckled this year.

Meanwhile, according to Financial Times and Wall Street Journal, the loss came from the Galaxy S9’s less-than-spectacular sales. With current sales, the Galaxy S9 is the company’s least popular phone since the Galaxy S3 in 2012.

As of late, Samsung has suffered mounting pressure from other brands outing their own competitive flagships (see: Huawei P20 Pro). Coupled with its lack of redeemable features, the Galaxy S9 is a tough phone to sell.

Moreover, with Apple taking its screen business elsewhere, Samsung might see a drop in component sales as well.

Regardless, the company will surely still enjoy massive sales numbers. At the same time, the drop should inspire the company to take measures with next year’s Galaxy S10 to get back to their winning ways.

SEE ALSO: Samsung patents its own ‘Face ID’ variant

Continue Reading

Trending