Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google both discounted their virtual assistant speakers so deeply over the holiday shopping season that they likely lost a few dollars per unit, highlighting a sharply different strategy from Apple Inc (AAPL.O) as it prepares its HomePod speaker, analysts said.
Both companies cut prices for the smallest version of their speakers, the Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home Mini, to as little as $29 from $50 for the U.S. holidays. Midlevel versions cost a bit more than twice as much.
Apple failed to ship its $349 HomePod speaker in 2017, as it initially planned, and said the device would go on sale in early 2018.
Apple aims to make a profit on the device itself and bolster sales of its $9.99 per month Apple Music subscription, analysts said. Apple’s voice assistant Siri likely will focus on recommending new songs.
Amazon and Google, meanwhile, are eager to give consumers a taste of their respective digital assistants, Alexa and Google Assistant, at impulse-buy prices, hoping to lock in customers and profit from later sales of goods and data about buying habits.