back to article What a hang up: US big box biz Best Buy kicks Huawei to the curb

Best Buy will no longer carry Huawei phones in its stores, marking yet another setback for the Chinese smartphone maker's efforts in America. According to media reports citing sources familiar with the matter, the US big box retailer will stop selling Huawei phones in its US stores in the next few weeks. Neither company wanted …

  1. djstardust Silver badge

    Oh wow

    Seems America wants to be as insular as France.

    Although I suspect this may have something to do with not harming Apple's market share (who's phones are ironically made in China)

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      WTF?

      Are any phones sold in the US not made in China?

      I'm hard pressed to think of any.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Are any phones sold in the US not made in China?

        That's not really the point, although it's probably a fair question.

        Part of the point is that when Huawei-badged made in China phones are sold in the US, and sold successfully with attractive functionality at attractive prices, it reveals the US corporates products and services (also made in China but sold with US badges by US companies) are overpriced and underdelivering. And if that carries on, the US corporates will be even more vulnerable than they have already become as a result of their offshoring of pretty much everything except management and strategy and 'compensation'.

        Interesting times.

  2. Gene Cash Silver badge

    It's not as if they actually carry stock anyway, at least here in Florida.

    Our Best Buys are so balkanized now. There's an area for Microsoft. An area for Google. An area for Apple. An area for Samsung. An area for Dell. An area for HP. Each with it's own non-Best-Buy-employed staff who only deal with their tiny territory. (I almost said "know" instead of "deal" but they know very little and are not able to answer technical questions.)

    So if you want a cellphone accessory that's not phone/brand specific like an external battery, you need to look in several areas that have slightly different stock and prices.

    And if you want an Ethernet card or a USB C cable, well then fuck you, because normal people don't need those, so we don't stock them!

    And if you want something out of the locked SSD cabinet, well fuck you again, because we have no idea who's responsible for that cabinet, so we can't unlock it and sell you something out of it.

    I don't waste the time and gas and just click on NewEgg.

    Best Buy is going to be the next Sears/Radio Shack/Toys'R'Us soon.

    1. PNGuinn Silver badge
      WTF?

      @ Gene Cash

      I have no idea as a right pondian what Best Buy is / was like, but may I respectfully refer you to the recent el Reg coverage of the demise of our Maplin?

      Seems like another bunch of corporate lemmings doing the right thing ... Sad,really.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I don't know when the last time you went to Best Buy was or if you just have a shit one in your area but pretty much all stores carry Ethernet cables, even 50ft+, and USB-C, including docks and hubs. If it doesn't, blame the distribution center for not keeping it stocked.

      My store is small so there's only one rep there, a Samsung guy, but he's pretty smart. I imagine they get training from their company and not from Best Buy, so I'd blame the parent company for any lack of knowledge.

      As with most retail stores, Best Buy franchises are are GM-operated for the most part and audits only really focus on how the store looks, not how closely it follows every rule. For example, while my local store is good, the one a few cities away is terrible; it's dirty, things are left sitting on the floor, and sales hock Best Buy Cards like they'll go out of business if you don't get one. Very rude.

      Don't forget they price match a bunch of different companies in-store so you can get some good deals if you see it cheaper on eg. Amazon. If you can't find what you're looking for and your salesperson isn't bad, they'd probably help you find it somewhere else, what since they;re salaried and don't get commission.

      I was not paid to write this review. Please rate me 10 stars on the Yelp and like this post on Facebook.

  3. doublelayer Silver badge

    Chinese government

    I thought the company that was owned directly by the Chinese government was ZTE, while huawei is just a company that the Chinese government can bully, interfere with, or destroy at a whim. Either I'm wrong, or perhaps we should have started with ZTE phones, right? I see those for sale at a number of places in the U.S.--I even found a nice budget phone from them that, while it didn't get any updates (it's android, who was expecting any) didn't have any bloatware and was quite snappy for the $40.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Chinese government

      Huawei was set up by, and is currently led by the ex-head of Chinese military intelligence. It’s not run by the Chinese government, but the links are likely to be pretty close.

      ZTE was set up by ex-Huawei employees who basically walked out the door with a bunch of schematics and source code. Again it’s not government owned, but like any Chinese firm they can be coerced pretty effectively by the government.

      Huawei don’t like ZTE. They stole their intellectual property. Lol. I know right? I have the image of 10,000 spoons in my head for some reason.

      The US simply doesn’t want competition from China. It’s not about security. They saw what happened to Marconi when Huawei were able to bid against them for contracts. The west cannot compete on price with Huawei.

      1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

        Re: Chinese government

        The west cannot compete on price with Huawei.

        I don't believe the move is all about price. What other "west"-ern branded phone is currently in the market at affordable price? Apple (SE)? Motorola? Nokia?

        There are a plethora of Chinese-branded phones in the market. If BestBuy won't stock them, then buyers are going to find means/methods to get them.

        If the reason is security, then a lot of internet traffic will touch some Chinese-branded network equipment which can be loaded with a backdoor slurper.

        If a "trade war" of mobile phones is what the PotUS is looking for then the only real benefit to this edict is Apple. And if this is the case then the US government is giving a nod of approval to a product monopoly.

        1. Greyeye

          Re: Chinese government

          >If the reason is security, then a lot of internet traffic will touch some Chinese-branded network equipment which can be loaded with a backdoor slurper.

          What makes you think NSA wouldn't load up their backdoor crap on Cisco/Juniper/Qualcomm/Intel/google?

          USA forbidden export of high encryption level software until very recently, and legacy still lingers on.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Export_of_cryptography_from_the_United_States

          Security? What Security? FBI, US Gov, heck, even UK and AUS gov all thinks Security is EVIL and should be open with "gov only back door" but don't call it back door because its used by gov officials.

      2. The Dogs Meevonks

        10,000 Spoons = Not Irony

        If you are quoting the Alanis Morissette song 'Ironic'. specifically the line '10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife'

        That's not ironic... that's just fucking stupid.

        It would be ironic if afterwards you discovered that a 'spoon' would have sufficed.

        1. VikiAi Silver badge
          Go

          Re: 10,000 Spoons = Not Irony

          Yes, Isn't it moronic.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Chinese government

        "They saw what happened to Marconi when Huawei were able to bid against them for contracts. "

        Marconi isn't a good example.

        Marconi (and GPT and other parts of the former Weinstock empire) were on the way out long before Huawei came on to the scene. Weinstock and successors had been on a multi-decade investment strike, failing to invest in their people, products, and technologies (that's why GEC had to buy US companies Fore and Raltec at the peak of the dot con boom, because GEC had nothing of their own to sel into that marketl, and their historic approach of setting up a joint venture wasn't working, and GEC bought stuff they didn't understand that didn't fit what people wanted to buy).

        1. airbrush

          Re: Chinese government

          Mainly because he created a huge warchest to repulse any attempted takeover by 80's buy and breakup merchants. Weinstock was only there as he married the bosses daughter which counted as a qualification to run one of the largest companies in the Uk back then.

      4. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Chinese government

        "Huawei was set up by, and is currently led by ..."

        I am struggling to find a single fact in your comment that is correct.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Chinese government

      There are 4 hierarchies in a communist country.

      The first one is the one you are describing. It is irrelevant.

      The second one is the members of the ruling party. Usually the communist party of X. Anything can (and is) being ordered by the party line. After all the party congress decides and the parliament approves without questions. That is the way it works. It is there to really decide what 1 pretends to decide. At the top of that hierarchy is the local dictator. Brezhnev, Zhivkov, Xi, Mao, whoever.

      The third one is the hierarchy of people on double payroll - they get an extra salary or "benefits" from the security services for their "services". It is there to keep 1 and 2 in line. If 1 and 2 do not tow the line interesting things happen to them. This was usually under command of someone who is the right hand of the dictator. It was very rare for the dictator to exercise direct control as that meant getting his hands dirty with blood too much. An exception here is Andropov who personally controlled hierarchy 1, 2, 3 and 4. There is a suspicion that one of the reasons he suffered from a short but fatal disease was that the other high level apparatchicks did not quite like this concentration of power in one set of hands.

      The fourth one is the party hierarchy of the dual payrolled and the security services. Seeing this one is equivalent to seeing the four horsemen. I can recall ONE case where it was out in the open. It was during the war of the remnants of Brezhnev clan who controlled the Milicia (police) and KGB controlled by Andropov. There were shootouts on the Moscow subway which never happened and there were no traces, no corpses and nobody seeing anything (and remaining alive).

      I am not going to comment how this hierarchy maps onto any Chinese company. As they say - this is exercise to the reader.

  4. Cubical Drone

    Relocation needed.

    If they just move to Russia they will be fine.

    1. joed

      Re: Relocation needed.

      This has not cut it for Kasperky. Switzerland may do it though.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Marconi were rubbish

    @ "Huawei was set up by, and is currently led by..."

    Marconi bit the dust in 2000 or soon afterwards. They had bid for a share of the modernisation of British Telecom, but got nothing, and gave up soon after.

    As an ex-employee of the corporate group that included Marconi, I was not surprised. Weinstock companies were run by accountants, plus a bit from managers, but techies were not highly valued.

  6. J J Carter Silver badge
    Trollface

    Let's get real

    Everything from Huawei has been front-doored by the PLA

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    is anyone else wondering why the world is becoming more polarised by race? I'm sure I've seen this before, where will it end?

    1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

      The two places on earth where I experienced outright racism, as an apparent white*, were Japan and China. Surprises a lot of people who haven't been there.

      *- Quarter Mohawk but don't claim it as I'm a pretty lame one. Heights terrify me.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'm probably wrong in appreciating the blatant racism of asian countries, but the explicit focus on nationalism and tradition at the expense of boping outsiders has led to such rich culture that you just can't find anywhere else.

        And tentacle porn. Lots of that.

        1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          I'm probably wrong in appreciating the blatant racism of asian countries, but the explicit focus on nationalism and tradition at the expense of boping outsiders has led to such rich culture that you just can't find anywhere else.

          And tentacle porn. Lots of that.

          Not one for "tentacle porn" myself. But "YURI"? Yeah, lots and lots of Yuri. If the show has two or more girls in it, it'll probably have yuri. And I'm glad.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trade war?

    What trade war? It is about security, really. I mean it is just coincidence that these are foreigners...

    If you have the time and inclination, there is a fascinating 1994 paper by Don Coppersmith, a huge name in Cryptography, about the design of DES. The team developing DES discovered Differential Cryptanalysis, a powerful cryptography technique. However, the NSA declined permission for them to publish it, since it would remove an economic advantage. The technique was rediscovered and published by Eli Biham and Adi Shamir.

    This is the same sort of nonsense - it is about protecting markets in a "free" market system.

  9. hellwig Silver badge

    Huawei has no Brand Recognition

    Huawei may be one of the largest phone manufacturers, but they have no recognition in the united states.

    What's their flagship? How does it compare to a iPhone X or a Galaxy s9 or a, is there another phone model that says "high-end performance"?

    Sony, LG, Motorola, Nokia, HTC, these companies are not doing so hot, I wouldn't be surprised if Best Buy dropped one of them soon too.

    Heck, I walk into a T-mobile store and I barely see anything besides the top-end Apple and Samsung options. You have to ashamedly ask for the other brands/models.

    "Um, sir, may.... may I see the... um... reasonably priced phones."

    Clerk: "Speak Up!"

    "Um, please, anything under $400?"

    Clerk: "UNDER $400?! JIM, CHECK OUT THIS POOR ASS BITCH!"

    1. soulrideruk Bronze badge

      Re: Huawei has no Brand Recognition

      I have an old Huawei P2 from 2013, they haven't been around in phones that long, but then phones, like for Samsung, are just a sideshow for Huawei, an attempt to get their name seen.

      They are all about networks and networking, the phone is just a marketing thing.

      1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Huawei has no Brand Recognition

        @soulrideruk

        "phones, like for Samsung, are just a sideshow for Huawei, an attempt to get their name seen. They are all about networks and networking, the phone is just a marketing thing."

        Consumer devices (mostly phones) brought in $30-35 billion for Huawei last year (yes, billion).

        Quite "a marketing thing".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Huawei has no Brand Recognition

          "Consumer devices (mostly phones) brought in $30-35 billion for Huawei last year (yes, billion)."

          Citation welcome. E.g. is that global profit, US revenue, what, exactly?

        2. soulrideruk Bronze badge

          Re: Huawei has no Brand Recognition

          Please reply with evidence.

          According to this report of Huawei's 2017 income - https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/hardware/huawei-posts-28-per-cent-rise-in-2017-net-profit-to-hike-rd-investments/articleshow/63544004.cms

          They had $92 B revenue last year.

          Their carrier business group - networks, iot, switching etc made $45.7B revenue.

          Enterprise business generated $8.4 billion

          No figures broen out for their phone business though, so I'd like to see where you get yours from.

    2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: Huawei has no Brand Recognition

      The "copy Apple" design is going to slaughter cellphone makers and they deserve it. There's no point carrying 10 models brands of the exact same phone. Stores will decide on price and which one produces the fewest customer returns.

    3. AZump

      Re: Huawei has no Brand Recognition

      Try MetroPCS, it was their 4G network T-Mobile swallowed up after all. Phones are compatible with either network. MetroPCS has a good range of prices.

      $1,000, $900, $800, $700, $650, $500, $300, $150, $80, $60, $40, $30, $20

      ...however, everything under $650 is garbage, just choose your brand. The LG Stylo 3 at $150 is good phone for the money, as is the Samsung J3 Prime. I have bought both recently. The Samsung is the better phone. Same battery life as LG but with brighter screen, cameras are about the same in low light but Sammy has it in well lit to sunlight, CPU is close enough (8×1.6Ghz), LG call quality is inferior on both ends 4G, or "HD", or UP. LG speakerphone is cheap too for both ends.

      ...but the Samsung is far more bloated software wise, and it shows with live wallpapers. The Stylo 3 really shines there. LG is making good headway in my opinion, but, still to cheap on build quality.

      Going to try a custom firmware when my Sammy can be unlocked (15 more days). One I'm looking at claims to only have issue taking HD video. Everything else claims to be GPU accelerated. We shall see. I paid $129 for the phone, no loss if I brick. And if I do, well, I'll try the ZTE Blade Z Max (4000+ mA battery), HTC Desire 530, or Moto e.

      I'd actually like a Huawei. I've used one, very nice phone. Right up there with the most expensive Apple and Samsung offerings (if not better) for far less money.

    4. joejack

      Re: Huawei has no Brand Recognition

      LG just doesn't understand branding and marketing. I picked an LG V30+ over the latest flagships because of features (tho the lower price was a bonus), and couldn't be happier. Well, except for the botched Oreo update last week.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Protectionism meets dodginess

    There is a nugget of truth in the resistance to Huawei: they do have a very, er, flexible approach to intellectual property, going back years. See Cisco, T-Mobile and Motorola for examples.

    Then you've got the undoubted convenience of having a Big Bad Foreign Bogeyman (Huawei) competing very aggressively against Upstanding All-American Corporations. Huawei (in my experience) will quite happily give stuff away and bank on the fact that they will make the money back over time. American companies, who are slaves to quarterly revenue numbers, can't often do that. So they squeal to their senators, who rattle their sabers.

    And then, you have the US intelligence and CFIUS community, who have stated repeatedly that they do not believe Huawei gear is safe to use in critical networks. Whether you trust them depends on your worldview. Are the senators saber-rattling because they have been briefed by the NSA and know of some bad stuff? Or are they bending the NSA to an already foregone conclusion that matches their political position? We'll never know.

    I can tell you as someone who occasionally runs into these types of discussions, here in the US, Huawei will never be allowed into the core of the network by any major US operator.

  11. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

    Marconi

    Say no more.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BestBuy is just another retail arm of the government

    BestBuy does whatever it is told.

    I still don't know why people bring their computers in to BestBuy to pay the Geek Squad large sums of cash to dig through their private data.

    https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/03/07/591698708/fbi-used-paid-informants-on-best-buys-geek-squad-to-flag-child-pornography

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BestBuy is just another retail arm of the government

      As a previous BBY employee, there were whisperings of that happening in Geek Squad culture (they eg. have their own private forums where this was brought up) but no one actually came out and admitted it. None in our district had ever been approached by anyone in an attempt to get them to snoop people's data, and I knew most of the agents personally. Additionally, according to corporate SOP you can be fired for sharing anything from anyone's computer, for any reason—confidentiality is strictly enforced.

      But, really, the second your data leaves your hands you've already lost. Fix it yourself or trash it. Trusting anyone with your data is like giving them the keys to your house, and if you have a smart door lock, that may very much be a literal statement. I've worked for the company and I wouldn't trust them to fix software issues since I can do that myself, and for hardware problems I would rather wipe it first, and inspect it thoroughly when it gets back...

  13. fajensen Silver badge

    In the Great Global Game of Risk

    The dice has been rolled and obviously, it is now the turn of the Americans to play The Soviets.

  14. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    I'm, surprised

    While it doesn't have carrier deals, the company is still able to sell its hardware to consumers as unlocked units.

    I'm shocked and surprised that no one has mentioned if Big Telecoms and Big Cellphone are not lobbying hard to make all phones illegal unless locked to carrier and unlocking them to become illegal. DRM/Piracy/Think of the Children, etc.

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