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Google acquires part of HTC's smartphone operation

Google is to acquire part of HTC’s smartphone operations in a deal said to be worth about $1billion.

The deal does not involve Google taking a direct stake in the Taiwanese firm, which will continue to run its remaining smartphone business, but will reinforce the US giant’s hardware capability.

In a statement from the company Google said that the acquisition would, “further reinforce its commitment to smartphones and overall investment in its emerging hardware business.”

Last year Google hired Rick Osterloh, a former Motorola executive, to run its hardware division.

HTC is a long-time partner of Google and manufactures the company’s Pixel smartphone.

Google’s strategy of licensing Android for free and benefitting from embedded services has helped to make Android the dominant mobile operating system but, according to analysts, the company has become increasingly frustrated by the emergence of variations of Android and the inconsistent experience that has produced.

HTC use to sell one in 10 smartphones sold globally but has been in sharp decline in the face of competition from Chinese competitors, Apple and Samsung. Its current global market share is just 0.9 per cent.

Commenting on the announcement Osterloh said that while it was still early days for Google’s hardware business, “We’re focused on building our core capabilities, while creating a portfolio of products that offers people a unique yet delightful experience only made possible by bringing together the best of Google software—like the Google Assistant—with thoughtfully designed hardware. HTC has been a longtime partner and has created some of the most beautiful, high-end devices on the market.”

Neil Tyler

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