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Huawei and Google Diverge in Their Treatment of ToTok


Dec. 26 2019, Updated 5:39 p.m. ET

Google (GOOGL) banned Huawei from preloading its apps on the new Huawei smartphones. It took that action to comply with the Trump administration’s blacklisting of Huawei as a national security threat. Huawei responded to the Google apps ban by unveiling its own Harmony mobile operating system and digital mapping technology. These moves could rival Google products down the road.

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Huawei and Google treat ToTok app differently in the wake of spying allegations

Huawei’s actions suggest brewing competition with Google down the road. Moreover, their different treatment of the controversial ToTok app may underscore that conflict of interest.

Google swiftly removed the ToTok app from its Play Store after the New York Times reported that ToTok is a spying tool for the United Arab Emirates government. Apple followed Google’s lead a day later and yanked ToTok from its App Store.

However, Huawei indicated that it has no problem with ToTok. For instance, Huawei is using its Facebook page to promote ToTok. Furthermore, ToTok stated that Huawei’s app store is one of the places people can download its app if they can’t get it through Google or Apple. People can also download the ToTok app directly from the Samsung (SSNLF), Xiaomi, and Oppo app stores.

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Huawei’s Mate 30 smartphone struggling without Google apps

The Trump administration’s blacklisting forced Huawei to launch its Mate 30 smartphone series without Google apps. For Huawei, that has resulted in tepid demand for Mate 30, resulting in weak sales of the device.

After its loss of access to Google apps, Huawei is preparing to move on without relying on the search giant for apps or other crucial technology for its smartphone business.

In India, Huawei is underway with efforts to break free of Google. Huawei is recruiting Indian developers to help it create alternatives to Google’s popular apps, the Economic Times reported on December 24.

ToTok and TikTok are troubling Google

For Google, ToTok joins the list of popular social apps giving it a headache. The other is TikTok, which has been a huge hit with teens around the world. Similar to ToTok, TikTok has faced spying allegations. United States lawmakers have asked Google to clarify whether it requires foreign apps like ToTok and TikTok to disclose ties with their governments.

In addition to spying concerns, TikTok has emerged as a huge competitive threat to both Google and Facebook.


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