Following recent reports of an impending deal with Google to save HTC’s struggling business, news broke late Wednesday evening that the companies reached an agreement resulting in a $1.1 billion cash infusion for HTC.

Update (9/21/17): Google’s $1.1 billion will buy the company a chunk of HTC’s phone engineering talent, including a portion of the team that had already been working on the hardware behind Google’s line of Pixel smartphones. The deal grants Google a non-exclusive license for unspecified HTC intellectual property.

For HTC’s part, the company is clear that it will use the cash infusion to continue its branded smartphone business as well as its Vive VR initiatives. In addition to VR, the press release announcement specifically says that the company is “investing in other next-generation technologies,” including augmented reality, a sector where we haven’t seen much play yet from HTC.

The announcement is certainly an interesting milestone for HTC, and a curious turn of events for the company who created the first Android phone with Google, the HTC Dream (AKA T-Mobile G1), back in 2008.

Original Article (9/20/17): According to the Taiwan Stock Exchange, HTC will halt trading of its stock as of September 21st, pending an unknown announcement from the company, reports Bloomberg. The move seems to lend weight to recent reports that the company is getting ready to sell off some or all of its business.

Following several years of financial difficulty, the future of HTC seems less clear than it’s ever been. While the company’s VR subsidiary, Vive, appears to be a recent bright spot, it represents a tiny fraction of the company’s overall business which is based primarily in the smartphone sector.

Bloomberg reported last month, citing unnamed sources, that HTC was “explor[ing] strategic options,” ranging from separating its VR business to a full sale of the company. Google—which is increasingly expanding its hardware business in the smartphone, connected home, and AR/VR sectors—has been fingered as one of the likely buyers.

HTC Vive Gets Major Price Cut, Now $600

Today Bloomberg reports that a deal between HTC and Google is drawing near, and that HTC will suspend stock trading on the Taiwan Stock Exchange as of September 21st, pending a forthcoming announcement from the company. Bloomberg’s Mark Bergen & Alex Sherman explain why Google might be interested in picking up some or all of HTC’s business:

By owning a manufacturer outright, Google could gain tighter control over production of its new Pixel smartphone and other devices, helping it ramp up sales. Those gadgets are fast becoming the pillars of Google’s strategic push to keep critical software products, such as its voice-enabled assistant, in circulation, contain costs in its main advertising business and better compete with Apple Inc.


Alphabet investors may be concerned about history repeating itself. Google has tried to buy its way into hardware twice before, albeit more expensively. Those efforts largely fell short and the associated expenses slimmed Google’s margins. But its third try comes at a very different time — when Google and its biggest rivals are more focused than ever on consumer devices built around artificial-intelligence services.

Greater control over hardware production would give Google more power over the distribution of those new services, like its voice-based digital assistant. That would fix a major obstacle its Android software has faced compared with Apple’s iPhones, and a more robust hardware division would solve a nagging problem in its internet advertising business.

What that means for Vive, HTC’s VR subsidiary, is unclear. While Google has in some ways embraced the Vive VR headset by developing a number of applications for it, a high-end PC peripheral (which is presently quite reliant on Microsoft’s Windows OS) would be uncharted territory for a company which is historically focused on web and mobile.

HTC Says Vive Price Drop Wasn't a Reaction to Oculus

Where Vive ends up after the (purported) dust settles could bring disruptions to the rollout of the forthcoming Vive standalone headset, announced earlier this year, that’s to be based on Google’s Daydream platform in the West, and on the Viveport platform in China.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • mrtexasfreedom

    As an owner of an Oculus Rift, I plead that Google not purchase HTC. The Vive is a terrific force in the VR marketplace and Google will only suffocate it. Fingers crossed that it somehow falls into the hands of Valve.

    • Xron

      Htc got 1.1 Billion Injection from Google for Pixel phone creator team and getting access to HTC intellectual property,
      So now they have cash for their own Phone business + more for VR! I guess thats great news.

      • Mane Vr

        it can be great new if htc doesn’t get branded as a dying company they got 1.1 bil buy oculus is close to being 4 to 5 bil and oculus only has to focus on vr plus they get some of their money back on sales of software which htc doesn’t so they need to get they s#!t together

      • RFC_VR
    • Konchu

      Valve owns SteamVR so nothing to worry about from that angle.I think HTC made great hardware…but I feel people see this as a Valve headset. With Steam having a LG headset coming, Vive may become less relevant. So this is a smart decision for HTC to partner if google is willing.

  • A (hopefully) minor blow to VR for sure as some industry people will read this as VR failing, HTC to sell all stock blah blah.

  • GigaSora

    They’re clearly going to sell to Google. One of the only companies that can compete with Facebook financial power. At least now it’ll be a good race. This is where it gets interesting.

  • Jean-Sebastien Perron

    If google buy Vive, they will censor all the games and they will mute the music. I don’t want my VR to spy on me.

  • Mane Vr

    google won’t be buying the vive business. y would they pay value a licensing when they have their own vr tech to use

  • Ian Shook

    Maybe Magic Leap will buy it so they can finally deliver a product. /s

  • Get Schwifty!

    This is a mobile move at heart…. the best outcome here would be having Google own or develop the Vive platform to be a unified (well, as unified as they could be) PC-and-mobile solution set which is quite possible…. the ideal situation. The other is they cave on the idea of PC’s, see VR as a mobile play and leech what tech they can from the PC-based solution and morph it into a mobile solution over time while de-emphasizing or even removing the PC from the equation down the road. Interesting development wherever it goes, but I personally was expecting someone to move on HTC eventually given their flagging position in smartcc phones and the success they have had with VR…

    • RFC_VR

      Standalone wireless headset with embedded SOC for latency-critical processing, offloading less critical processing to local services (home network with AI). Or just streaming the data straight into the headset display chip from the home network…

      Thinking of this as the possible and probable future…is PC VR an evolutionary dead end? (will there even be a “PC” in this future?)

      I have NAS on home network connecting two PC (gaming pc and NUC) and 3 televisions, how long until this has a small AI to optimize Cloud resources?

  • Lucidfeuer

    For once, reactions are sane in the comments. Given the few mediocre products Google have provided recently, be it that ever bloated, crapware Android people are starting to not bear anymore even if Apple’s hardware is worse, their failure Pixel and Daydream initiatives, their shameful Tango vaporware…buying a company like HTC that is failing in the mobile realm for a few patents and engineer, for a corporate juggernaut with no vision anymore…nothing good will come out of it.


    Oh no! Now who are the “fight the man” screamers gonna rail against?
    Oculus = Facebook.
    Vive = Google.