A report from China suggests that HTC is in final negotiations to sell at least part of their business to Google. In a way similar to the acquisition of Nokia’s phone hardware business by Microsoft or even Google’s acquisition of Motorola, Google’s reported to be aiming for HTC. The report at hand suggests that this sale would be for the HTC smartphone research and development team only, and wouldn’t include the entire company nor its Virtual Reality arm (with the HTC Vive).
The primary source of this acquisition rumor is the China-based Commercial Times. It’s also suggested that HTC is considering with Google whether to sell their entire smartphone business or to become a more closely-integrated strategic partner for devices in the future. HTC partnered with Google to manufacture both the Pixel and Pixel XL in 2016, and will likely continue this partnership for the Pixel 2 in 2017. See today’s report on the possibilities with Pixel 2 to learn more.
Details here suggest that HTC may be playing their VR cards carefully. HTC’s smartphone business hasn’t been doing especially well lately – or for the past couple of years – but VR is a different story. The HTC VIVE continues to be a leader in the world of virtual reality and is one of the two primary market-leaders for VR hardware (the other being Oculus’ Rift headset).
Back in late August, a separate HTC VIVE sell-off was reported. There’s also a real-deal HTC VIVE standalone headset out there running a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 – but that is notably meant only for China.
HTC’s most recent financial report show August being the worst single month in more than a decade. Month-over-month change was -51.56%, while year-over-year change was -54.39%.
While an HTC U11 “mini” has been rumored more than once, HTC’s not had a major release since June 9th with the HTC U11 – unless you count the HTC Desire 555, which was released to Cricket this July but is no longer available from the carrier (while the carrier still carries the HTC Desire 625 which was released back in February of 2016.
It would make sense for Google to consider acquiring HTC at this time in history – they’re probably more willing to be acquired now than at any point in their short history. But until we hear from official sources on any sort of acquisition dealings, take this all with a grain of salt.