Google to buy part of Taiwan smartphone maker HTC for $1.1 bln
TAIPEI - Agence France-PresseTaiwan’s struggling smartphone maker HTC said on Sept. 21 it would sell part of its smartphone business to Google for $1.1 billion as the U.S. giant looks to take greater control of its hardware business.
Google will take on half of HTC’s research and development staff -- about 2,000 people -- many of whom have already been working on the Silicon Valley firm’s Pixel handset, as well as intellectual property (IP) licensing.
HTC said in a statement the deal is expected to be completed early next year, pending regulatory approval.
“For Google, this agreement further reinforces its commitment to smartphones and overall investment in its emerging hardware business,” HTC spokesman Peter Shen told a press conference in Taipei.
“In addition to the talented and experienced team of professionals, Google will continue to have access to HTC’s IP to support the Pixel smartphone family. This agreement also represents a significant investment by Google in Taiwan as a key innovation and technology hub.”
He declined to give further details but stressed that HTC would continue to develop and sell smartphones under its own brand.
The Taiwanese firm is working on its new flagship phone and will also continue to invest in areas such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence and internet of things, Shen added.
“The agreement is a testament to the decade-long strategic relationship between HTC and Google around the development of premium smartphones,” Google said in a joint statement with HTC.
The move will give Google more control of its mobile handset hardware as it seeks to bolster its presence in a market dominated by Apple and Samsung.
It will give Google a greater ability to integrate smartphone hardware and its Android operating software in the same manner as Apple, a feature that is seen as helping the iPhone.