HTC and Google have struck a deal worth $1.1 billion, putting an official stamp to rumors that have been swirling ever since the former’s dire financial straits came to light. It’s the second time the latter has shelled out cash for an OEM, but the situation isn’t quite the same as it was with Motorola.
For one thing, Google bought Motorola outright. On the other hand, the HTC agreement sees a certain portion of the brand’s employees shifting to the former, many of whom were already working on the Pixel line anyway. The search giant will additionally get a non-exclusive license for the Taiwanese company’s intellectual property.
Surprisingly enough, HTC plans to continue making smartphones with the workforce it has left over. The firm’s press release talks about streamlining its product portfolio, achieving greater operational efficiency, and more financial flexibility. The company also confirmed that it’s working on its next flagship handset.
Perhaps HTC plans to drop its mid-range lineup and concentrate entirely on its premium offerings. Most people had predicted that the brand would sell off its entire mobile division. That’s still a possibility, but likely won’t happen until after its 2018 flagship is done and dusted with.
As for Google, it now has access to a team of hardware professionals and HTC IP to help shape the future of the Pixel. The tech behemoth is still finding its feet within the smartphone world and this deal will help it establish a more solid footing. It isn’t a full-blown manufacturer yet, but that might change in the future.
Google will presumably continue partnering with HTC for at least one member of the Pixel lineup in the future, though this can’t be taken as certain. The agreement is expected to become final by early 2018 after it passes through the required regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.