Apple's HomePod Threatens Amazon Echo's Top Spot

Apple's newly launched HomePod is making strides in the home speaker market, yet still lags far behind that of Inc.'s (AMZN) Alexa and Alphabet Inc.'s (GOOG) Google Assistant, according to a new survey by research firm Loup Ventures. (See also: 3 Reasons Why Apple's Shares Will Outperform.)

According to Loup, which conducted a survey of 520 American consumers, the HomePod gained a 3% share of the U.S. market. Seattle-based Amazon is the clear market leader, with a 55% hold over the market, while Google Home stands a distant second with 23% of the total market. In third place, Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Cortana personal assistant has a 15% market share. The survey also asked respondents how satisfied they are with their smart speakers. Some 30% reported that they are "very satisfied" and nearly 60% reported being "satisfied" with their purchase. 

Audio: Good, Siri: Meh

The Cupertino, Calif.-based smartphone maker's $150 home speaker, launched Feb. 9 after a two-week pre-order period, has seen largely positive reviews in its first couple weeks on the market. The product's top-notch hardware has been applauded for creating a high-quality audio experience. Touted by Apple as having the best-sounding speakers in the smartspeaker space, the device integrates with Apple's virtual personal assistant Siri, allowing users to issue voice commands for functions such as playing music and controlling smarthome devices such as thermostats. 

While the HomePod has received generally high marks for its sound quality, users have criticized Siri for falling short of the many functionalities of the Alexa-powered Echo and the Google Assistant-powered Google Home. E-commerce and cloud computing giant Amazon has been selling its smart home device since 2015 and has recently featured the product at hundreds of brick-and-mortar stores after its $13.7 billion Whole Foods Market acquisition. Google released its version in late 2016. (See also: Amazon Launches Its Own Line of OTC Drugs.)

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