Why the hell is Google buying another phone manufacturer?

Google and HTC have officially announced a US1.1 Billion agreement where Google will acquire ‘certain HTC employees’. Given Google has already bought Motorola for $12.5B, then sold it for...

Google and HTC have officially announced a US1.1 Billion agreement where Google will acquire ‘certain HTC employees’. Given Google has already bought Motorola for $12.5B, then sold it for $2.9B, you’d be right in questioning what’s going on here with HTC.

Google says many of the employees they are acquiring from HTC are already working on Google projects like Pixel phones. Separately, Google will receive a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property (IP). Unfortunately there’s no detail in the announcement that confirms Google OS updates will reach HTC devices faster, that’d certainly be a welcome addition.

HTC were keen to reassure shareholders and fans of the brand that they are retaining best-in-class engineering talent, who are already working on their next flagship phone. HTC will also continue to build their VR business with VIVE, while investing in other next-generation technologies, including IoT, AR and AI.

For Google, this agreement further reinforces its commitment to smartphones and overall investment in its emerging hardware business. 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. Additionally, this agreement also represents a significant investment by Google in Taiwan as a key innovation and technology hub.

“As a pioneer of the smartphone market, we are very proud of our history of innovation. Our unmatched smartphone value chain, including our IP portfolio, and world-class talent and system integration capabilities, have supported Google in bolstering the Android market,” said Cher Wang, Chairwoman and CEO of HTC. “This agreement is a brilliant next step in our longstanding partnership, enabling Google to supercharge their hardware business while ensuring continued innovation within our HTC smartphone and VIVE virtual reality businesses. We believe HTC is well positioned to maintain our rich legacy of innovation and realize the potential of a new generation of connected products and services.”

Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President of Hardware at Google, said,

“HTC has been a longtime partner of Google and has created some of the most beautiful, premium devices on the market.”

“We’re excited and can’t wait to welcome members of the HTC team who will be joining Google to fuel further innovation and future product development in consumer hardware.”

The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, is expected to close by early 2018.

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Acquisitions

Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis.