Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC isn’t quite out of the woods financially, despite some bright spots in sales with the recently release U11. The situation has lead to the point where the company is rumoured to be in talks to possibly sell off their mobile division to Google.
The rumour surfaced after HTC released their latest financial results which showed revenue of NT$3 billion (around $123AUD million) for August, making it the company’s lowest monthly figures in 13 years. The statement also showed a decline in sales of 51.5% from the previous month, which was also down 54.4% from last year.
Citing Chinese-language news outlet Commercial Times, who said ‘It is understood that Google is the strategy to invest or buy HTC smart phone R & D team to discuss the matter, the negotiations have entered the final stage, the slowest will be completed by the end of the year’. So it could come down to Google investing in HTC as a strategic partner, or simply purchasing the mobile division.
The sale is reportedly only for the smartphone business, with the VR side – predominantly the Vive business – run as a separate business and not on the table.
Google has a good relationship with HTC, the Taiwanese company made the first commercially available Android phone, as well as being the hardware partner for both the first Nexus, and first Pixel smartphones. It’s not the first time that HTC has been rumoured to be looking to sell their smartphone business in light of financial issues of late, it is however the first we’ve heard of Google being involved.
Google’s first foray into phone hardware as a manufacturer began with the purchase of Motorola, however that was short-lived with rumours of unhappy OEMs such as Samsung seeing the Motorola business sold, sans most of the Patents, to Lenovo. Google’s new ‘Made by Google’ campaign with Pixel hardware could be the driver behind looking at the purchase of the HTC phone business.
At this stage HTC has declined to comment as is the case with most companies on rumours. It’s only a single report at this stage, but if there’s any truth to the rumour we’ll be hearing a lot more about it soon.