EnterpriseMerger and acquisition

Google Buys HTC Smartphone Talent For $1.1bn

As News Editor of Silicon UK, Roland keeps a keen eye on the daily tech news coverage for the site, while also focusing on stories around cyber security, public sector IT, innovation, AI, and gadgets.

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UPDATED: HTC will continue to operate a phone brand and push deeper into virtual reality

Google and HTC have entered into a $1.1 billion deal which will see the search giant effectively buy the Taiwanese tech firm’s smartphone engineers to create Google-branded handsets. 

Described as a cooperation agreement, some 2,000 HTC employees will move over to work at Google on devices such as the upcoming Pixel 2, which should give even more control over how it develops its own smartphone hardware. 

Meanwhile, HTC will continue work on its next flagship phone as well as pushing ahead with developing its Vive virtual reality division. Google will not have a stake in HTC’s business either, though it will get a non-exclusive license for a large part of HTC’s intellectual property. 

The agreement at a glance would appear to offer Google a means by which to better develop an pure Android focused smartphone at both a hardware and software level, potentially giving it the extra expertise it needs to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung. HTC on the other hand gains a large cash injection to help it thorough some tough financial times and give it money to invest in the more innovative areas of its business such as virtual reality. 

21/09/2017: HTC’s Big Announcement Could Be A Google Buyout

Google could be on the verge of buying out HTC’s smartphone division, allowing the Taiwanese technology firm to concentrate on virtual reality (VR) development. 

Tech industry tipster Even Blass tweeted that he ad been sent a copy of an HTC internal invite asking its employees along to a Town hall meeting on September 21 with the goal to discuss a potential acquisition by Google amid other topics. 

At the same time it was reported by TechNews, a Taiwanese technology website, that HTC had suspended trading its share on the Taiwanese Stock Exchange in preparation for the reveal of a Google buy-out. 

If such an acquisition is in the works, Google is predicted to buy the smartphone hardware division from HTC, either continuing to run the Taiwanese brand but under its control, or abandon the HTC label all together and bring its expertise and hardware fully under the Google banner. 

HTC is expected to be the manufacturer of Google’s rumoured and upcoming Pixel 2, the sequel to its first 100 percent designed Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones. As such, it would seem logical that Google should want to buy HTC over other smartphone manufacturers, particularly as the Taiwanese company has been struggling of late despite its work on the HTC U11 flagship smartphone and its efforts in VR with the HTC Vive. 

Speaking of the Vive, there is speculation that HTC will keep hold of the Vive brand and hardware which is developed in partnership with game platform giant Valve, particularly as the Vive headsets have potential in both the business and consumer world.

And HTC already has a close partnership with Google on the VR scene, so there is a strong chance both companies will want to retain that relationship rather than loose the Vive brand amidst Google’s corporate mass. 

How much do you know about virtual reality? Try our quiz!