Suspension of HTC stock fuels Alphabet takeover rumours

20 Sep 2017

HTC was once the fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world. Image: Nadir Kekik/Shutterstock

Taiwanese media outlets have previously reported that Google had an interest in HTC.

The Taiwanese Stock Exchange (TWSE) issued a press statement today (20 September) announcing the halting of shares in the smartphone manufacturer from 21 September, “pending the release of material information”.

In response to the statement from the TWSE, HTC told the BBC that it doesn’t issue comment on market speculation as a matter of policy.

HTC and Alphabet already have some pre-existing links, with the Taiwanese company manufacturing Google’s own smartphone offering, Pixel.

The acquisition of the company could mean easier software and hardware integration for future Pixel iterations in Google’s pipeline. Currently, the Pixel range doesn’t have any HTC branding present on handsets.

In recent years, HTC has gone from major smartphone market player to having a global market share of just under 1pc.

Difficulties keeping up with competitors

Francisco Jeronimo, a researcher for International Data Corporation, explained what happened to HTC to The Guardian: “HTC was one of the most innovative companies, and honestly it still is. But it is also a prime example of the fact that despite having the best product out there, if you don’t know how to sell it, to work with the channels of retailers and networks, then you won’t succeed.”

HTC found it difficult in recent times to offer a competitive advantage to customers in terms of price, design or specs, with fierce competition from both Samsung and Apple.

Many point to the fact that Google has been intent on bulking up its hardware team, but The Verge also speculated that the company could just want HTC’s VR division, Vive, as opposed to its smartphone manufacturing arm.

HTC is expected to resume trading following the announcement of the material information hinted at by the TWSE, though whether that’s going to be an Alphabet acquisition or not remains to be seen.

HTC was once the fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world. Image: Nadir Keklik/Shutterstock

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