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Apple shares open lower as HomePod fares badly against the competition

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Apple shares opened lower in the US Friday as a new report places its HomePod in fourth place in the still small – but growing – smart speaker market.

According to Strategy Analytics, Apple’s HomePod was only the fourth most popular smart speaker on the market in the first quarter of 2018. That works out as a market share of around just 6%, a small fraction of Amazon’s 43%.

By 1440 BST, Apple shares were 0.11% lower at $186.78. The stock has remained in good shape after hitting a record high of $190 earlier this month.

Apple’s HomePod gains just 6% market share

According to the data, Apple shipped some 600,000 HomePod units between January and March this year. That’s way behind the 4 million Amazon’s Echo sales and the 2.4 million orders for Google Home. Alibaba came in third place, shipping 700,000 of its own smart home devices during Q1.

“Amazon and Google accounted for a dominant 70% share of global smart speaker shipments in Q1 2018 although their combined share has fallen from 84% in Q4 2017 and 94% in the year ago quarter,” said Strategy Analytics director, David Watkins.

“This is partly as a result of strong growth in the Chinese market for smart speakers where both Amazon and Google are currently absent. Alibaba and Xiaomi are leading the way in China and their strength in the domestic market alone is proving enough to propel them into the global top five,” Watkins added.

Apple stock remains popular

While the news that Amazon and Google are clear market leaders in the field, the fact that Apple is falling behind Alibaba could be a cause for concern for the tech innovator.

However, despite it’s current lack of prowess in the smart home speaker market, Apple remains a popular tech stock pick.

Indeed, well-known investor and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett, remains a particular fan of the business. After increasing the investment group’s holdings in the tech stock during Q1, Berkshire Hathaway is now the second largest Apple shareholder.

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