The weakest monthly revenue report in 13 years has left HTC’s stock reeling today. August earnings came in at just over NT$3 billion or US$100 million, an annual decline of 54 percent. Markets weren’t expecting such a collapse — the company’s share price ended the day down 6.6 percent.
HTC is in a position of exasperation as there’s been talk of the potential sale of its Vive VR business or even a sell-off of the company itself. More recently, the Commercial Times out of Taiwan is reporting that Google has taken strong interest in the smartphone operations and is nearing a deal to invest in or acquire it.
Google acquired Motorola back in 2012 and used the manufacturer to launch a consumer ideal of what an Android phone should be in the mould of the Moto X. Slow sales and a chilly reception from would-be partners for projects like the Nexus devices foreclosed that experiment as Lenovo would take over the reins from 2014.
In the past year, though, Google has sought to regain brand identity, even through an ODM-produced device. It took on more specific aesthetic, software and specification design work and commissioned HTC, the maker of the first commercial Android phone and Nexus One, to produce what would be known as the Pixel. The phones’ debuted to moderate success. Even as another longtime OEM partner, LG, is said to have taken on a second-generation Pixel phone this year, HTC still retains the manufacture of another Pixel phone.
It is in this current situation where Google is seeking more autonomy to once again carve an ideal Android experience and HTC is looking at its strategic options that a deal could eventually close out by the end of the year.
As for the highly reputable Vive operation, Google could also come hand in hand with HTC, meshing both motion tracking R&D to create another virtual reality device.
HTC responded to press inquiries saying that it doesn’t comment on rumors.