Google taking big steps in hardware, strikes deal with HTC

21 Sep 2017

HTC store in Taipei, Taiwan. Image: TK Kurikawa/Shutterstock

Following a swirl of rumours, Google comes to an agreement with HTC.

In a blogpost, senior vice-president of hardware at Google, Rick Osterloh, confirmed that Google has indeed signed an agreement with HTC.

This followed the previous announcement by the Taiwanese Stock Exchange that the smartphone and VR manufacturer’s stock sales would be suspended, stirring the pot in terms of a potential deal being struck.

Osterloh, a former Motorola executive, wrote: “We’ve signed an agreement with HTC, a leader in consumer electronics, that will fuel even more product innovation in the years ahead. With this agreement, a team of HTC talent will join Google as part of the hardware organisation.

“These future fellow Googlers are amazing folks we’ve already been working with closely on the Pixel smartphone line, and we’re excited to see what we can do together as one team. The deal also includes a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property.”

More than 2,000 staff are to join the Google hardware team, which equates to a fifth of the Taiwanese company’s workforce, according to Reuters.

Deal comes ahead of October product launches

Google will also acquire a non-exclusive licence for HTC’s intellectual property, coming ahead of the October product launches expected to include a Chromebook and two Pixel phones.

Osterloh emphasised that Google’s hardware business is still in its infancy, with the team focused on building “core capabilities”.

HTC is also going to continue making its own smartphones under its own brand umbrella, although it will shrink its portfolio somewhat.

According to The New York Times, many of the employees affected by the agreement are already working on smartphones with Google.

By focusing on the creation of new hardware for its products, with the expertise of HTC staff on its side, Google’s next smartphone project will be highly anticipated.

HTC store in Taipei, Taiwan. Image: TK Kurikawa/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects