Google Buys HTC Staff, Rights To Their IP For $1.24 Billion

Image: HTC

Following rumours that HTC was on the verge of being bought out, Google has officially announced an agreement with HTC to acquire some of the latter's staff, as well as non-exclusive rights to the Taiwanese company's intellectual property.

In a post on the official Google blog, Google senior VP of hardware Rick Osterloh announced that the agreement between the two companies would result in HTC staffers joining Google "as part of the hardware" business.

That’s why we’ve signed an agreement with HTC, a leader in consumer electronics, that will fuel even more product innovation in the years ahead. With this agreement, a team of HTC talent will join Google as part of the hardware organisation. These future fellow Googlers are amazing folks we’ve already been working with closely on the Pixel smartphone line, and we're excited to see what we can do together as one team.

Reuters reported that the acquisition is valued at approximately $US1 billion ($1.249 billion), although Google isn't buying a direct stake in the Taiwanese manufacturer.

Google and HTC have been partners for a long time. Google worked with HTC on the creation of the Nexus One seven years ago, the Nexus 9 tablet, and last year's Google Pixel. HTC also shared their API with Google with the HTC One, which resulted in the HTC One M8 phone that ran a stock version of Android. There's also rumours that HTC is manufacturing the smaller version of the Pixel 2, with the XL version being made by LG.

The future hasn't been so rosy for HTC, though. Their smartphone marketshare, according to IDC, slumped to 0.9 percent last year after hitting a peak of 8.8 percent in 2011. HTC was also reportedly considering spinning off their Vive VR business earlier in the year.


    So presumably this is another chunk of patents Google now has access to after their temporary ownership of Motorola Mobility, giving them more flexibility to work in the hardware space.

    Presumably they want to keep up the appearance of neutrality in the hardware space though, to keep Samsung, Sony, etc on side. It'll be interesting to see where this leads in the next few years.

      Sony shouldn't be hard to keep on side. Samsung has been flirting with their own OS and have their own services to replace most of Google's. One reason why I won't ever get a Samsung, I don't want a duplicate of every basic service of Android with an S in front of the name.
      The big killer is the Play store and if they ever did switch, new owners would have to buy all the apps again if they were even available in the Samsung store.

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