Google set to gobble up HTC assets

Google is close to acquiring assets from Taiwan’s HTC, according to a person familiar with the situation, in a bid to bolster the Internet giant’s nascent hardware business.
Google could gain tighter control over production of its new Pixel smartphone and other devices. 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.
HTC, once ranked among the world’s top smartphone makers, is holding a town hall meeting on Thursday, according to tech website VentureBeat, which cited a copy of an internal invitation. The shares will also be suspended from trading as of 21 September due to a pending announcement, according to the Taiwan stock exchange.
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
Google declined to comment, and HTC couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
HTC has been working with an adviser to explore selling its handset and virtual reality businesses, and Google has been talking with the company, Bloomberg reported last month. On Wednesday, it was reported that Google will buy HTC’s mobile phone original design operations for about R4412.29 billion. Google will keep the HTC brand and take on about 100 HTC engineers.
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.
“If you can control all of those, you’re in firmer control of your own destiny,” said Ramon Llamas, an analyst at market researcher International Data Corp.
In 2012, the search giant paid R167.13 billion for Motorola Mobility, a leading Android handset manufacturer. In less than three years, Google sold it off to Lenovo Group for under R40.11 billion. In 2014, Google dropped R40.11 billion on Nest Labs, maker of connected thermostats and — at the time — Google’s chosen vehicle for a design-savvy device operation that could rival Apple in the home.

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