A report from a Taiwanese news outlet called Commercial Times says Google is in the final stages of acquiring all or part of smartphone maker HTC.
HTC and Google have a relationship that has spanned several years with the smartphone manufacturer building some of the first Android phones (G1), even collaborating with Google on the original Nexus. HTC quickly gained traction in the smartphone industry and was a big player in it for quite some time, but in the past couple of years, the company has lost major market share to its competitors. Now, rumors are floating around that Google might end up buying the company. This just a few years after Google sold off Moto to Lenovo, likely to keep Samsung in its stable.
However, HTC’s virtual reality business (HTC Vive) would not be part of the deal.
The news led to HTC posting its lowest revenue in over a decade on Thursday. HTC, now in a bad financial health, was once very popular in the US but has not done well for quite some time even after launching flagship devices. The Google Pixel and Pixel XL devices were also manufactured by HTC.
Right now we really don’t know if Google and HTC have this plans as both the search giant and Taiwanese OEM has neglected to comment on the matter. However, these rumors do spark another question — why would Google even want to buy HTC?
A dedicated resource for the Pixel’s future
The most obvious reason that Google could be buying HTC’s smartphone division is to have an in-house resource dedicated to developing and manufacturing the Pixel. While HTC had trouble keeping up with supply on the original model, having the company’s entire manufacturing capabilities focused on just one or two phones it should easily be able to keep up with demand.
Along with that, having HTC’s resources when it comes to audio and imaging could help further enhance future Pixels in the years to come. We could even see design elements from phones like the U11 and U Ultra make their way to the Pixel lineup.
Seeing that Google is serious about the Pixel’s future, any move that helps bring manufacturing in-house would probably be a good move for the company. Of course, it’s pretty clear that whatever HTC has to offer may not be enough for Google’s needs just yet seeing that LG is manufacturing one of this year’s Pixel devices.
If the deal materialises, it would be second such acquisition after Google’s $12.5 billion buyout of Motorola in 2012.
The search giant later sold it off to Lenovo for $2.91 billion in 2014.