Google has agreed to take over staff and assets of smartphone maker HTC for USD 1.1 billion. Google said the takeover will strengthen its hardware business, including the Pixel smartphones on which HTC already cooperates. HTC will continue to make smartphones and VR devices under its own brand.
In addition to the HTC employees, some of whom are already working on Google Pixel phones, Google receives a non-exclusive licence to HTC’s intellectual property. The company said the deal also represents a “significant investment by Google in Taiwan as a key innovation and technology hub”.
HTC, which has suffered a sharp fall in sales in recent years, said the deal with Google will allow it to continue its own branded smartphone strategy, “enabling a more streamlined product portfolio, greater operational efficiency and financial flexibility”.
The company said it’s already working on its next flagship phone, the successor to the HTC U11 launched earlier this year. It will also continue to build out its Vive virtual reality business, while investing in other products for the Internet of Things, augmented reality and artificial intelligence.
HTC has been a long-time Google partner. When the Android OS launched in 2008, HTC transitioned from the Windows market to the new system and made the first Android phone, the T-Mobile G1. Since then it has partnered with Google several times on Nexus devices..
Google also confirmed that it will unveil its next Pixel phone and new hardware products on 04 October. The transaction with HTC is expected to close by early 2018.