January 30, 2018 // 11:11 a.m.
Google has confirmed the completion of its deal to acquire HTC's struggling smartphone arm, and has big plans for the future - starting with upgrading its Taipei facility to become the company's largest Asia-Pacific (APAC) engineering site.
While generally well-received by critics, HTC's smartphone products have not been a commercial success for the company: In May 2016 the company reported a £102 million quarterly loss and 64 percent drop in revenue which the success of its Vive virtual reality platform did little to reverse. Within a year rumours circulated that HTC was looking to fix its finances by spinning off its Vive division, but with Google interested in the company's smartphone and tablet know-how a different path was taken: the sale of a large chunk of HTC's smartphone workforce and associated intellectual property to Google in a deal valued at around £820 million.
While HTC will continue to work on smartphone and tablet products, the deal will see it enter into competition with a Google buoyed by its own former staff - and the deal, Google has confirmed, is now complete. 'We've officially closed our deal with HTC, and are welcoming an incredibly talented team to work on even better and more innovative products in the years to come,' claims Google's senior vice president for hardware Rick Osterloh in a blog post. 'These new colleagues bring decades of experience achieving a series of “firsts” particularly in the smartphone industry - including bringing to market the first 3G smartphone in 2005, the first touch-centric phone in 2007, and the first all-metal unibody phone in 2013. This is also the same team we’ve been working closely with on the development of the Pixel and Pixel 2.
'As our hardware business enters its third year, we remain committed to building and investing for the long run. Today, we start digging in with our new teammates, guided by the mission to create radically helpful experiences for people around the world, by combining the best of Google’s AI, software and hardware. Finally, with the official close of this deal, we're expanding our footprint in the Asia Pacific region. Taiwan is a key innovation and engineering hub for Google, and Taipei will now become the largest Google engineering site in APAC.'