SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – 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

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