September 8, 2017 // 11:22 a.m.
A report has claimed that Google is in the final stage of discussions with financially troubled HTC regarding a deal to acquire the company's smartphone and tablet division - which, if true, would mark Google's first entry into the true own-brand smartphone market.
Since its acquisition and launch of Android, Google has provided own-brand handsets designed as flagship products demonstrating to its licensees how things should be done. While these devices carry the Google name, however, they are entirely third-party creations: The Nexus One was an HTC creation, the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus Samsung devices, the Nexus 4 and 5 produced by LG Electronics, the Nexus 6 a product of Motorola Mobility, the Nexus 5X LG again, the Nexus 6P Huawei's turn, and while the switch to the Pixel brand brought with it a more hands-on approach to design Google still relied upon HTC to actually produce both the Pixel and Pixel XL.
That longstanding partnership with HTC has put meat on a rumour by Taiwanese news site CTEE that Google is in talks with HTC to purchase the company's mobile division - the same division which has been driving major losses for the company as it loses market share to its competitors.
The deal would see HTC effectively exit the smartphone and tablet markets, leaving it free to concentrate on its Vive virtual reality platform and related projects. It would also mark a major shift for Google, moving the company away from partnerships and giving it the capabilities it would need to produce devices entirely in-house - though with a contract manufacturer, given HTC's sale of its manufacturing facility earlier this year.
It's something Google has dabbbled iwth before, however: In 2011 Google acquired Motorola Mobility, but failed to capitalise on its acquisition before selling the company at a loss to Lenovo three years later - a loss mitigated by Google's retention of key research and development divisions and related patents.
Unsurprisingly, neither HTC nor Google have offered comment on the site's rumour, which does not cite a source.