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Google Is Apparently Ready To Buy Smartphone Maker HTC (cnbc.com) 102

According to a Taiwanese news outlet called Commercial Times, Google is in the final stages of acquiring all or part of smartphone maker HTC. CNBC reports: The report seems fishy, since Google has already been down this road, but there's a reason why Google might be interested in HTC. The Taiwanese company builds the Google Pixel, which means it could be a good fit for Google as it continues to cater to consumers with its "Pixel" smartphone brand. Here's where it sounds off base: Google acquired Motorola Mobility and then sold it off just a couple of years later. Why repeat that move? Commercial Times said HTC's poor financial position and Google's desire to "perfect [the] integration of software, content, hardware, network, cloud, [and] AI," is the driving force behind Google's interest. The news outlet said Google may make a "strategic investment" or "buy HTC's smartphone R&D team" which suggests that the VR team would exist as its own.
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Google Is Apparently Ready To Buy Smartphone Maker HTC

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  • If they buy HTC to make the Pixel, the acronym would be HTCP which sounds a bit like HTTP.

    • by Desler ( 1608317 )

      Was that supposed to be funny?

  • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @09:07AM (#55158325)

    Google acquired Motorola Mobility and then sold it off just a couple of years later. Why repeat that move?

    First, Motorola was a patent play. Google gained much protection by buying the patent portfolio.

    Second, Google's tried the 3rd party vendor route and gotten shit products out of it and continues watching Apple reap 95% of the mobile profit. Pixel was an attempt by Google to create a realistic competitor that would actually help them. Now that the Pixel appears realistic, Google needs more control to keep up with Apple who is ahead in many areas. (Hint, there's a reason besides fanboism that Apple has 95% of the profits)

    Google buying HTC outright will have another immediate effect - Samsung's profits. Unless Samsung takes a page out of the same book and creates their own OS dev team and branches Android into their own offering.

    • by nasch ( 598556 )

      Second, Google's tried the 3rd party vendor route and gotten %%%% products out of it

      Hey, you be nice to my phone!

      Unless Samsung takes a page out of the same book and creates their own OS dev team and branches Android into their own offering.

      Not Android, but Linux: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    • Second, Google's tried the 3rd party vendor route and gotten shit products out of it and continues watching Apple reap 95% of the mobile profit

      Are you sure about that? Apple makes some profit on the hardware and a big chunk on iAds and on their 30% cut from the App Store. Google takes a similar cut from the Play store, and a lot more from their mobile advertising platform, without having to be in the low-margin hardware business.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        Are you sure about that? Apple makes some profit on the hardware and a big chunk on iAds and on their 30% cut from the App Store. Google takes a similar cut from the Play store, and a lot more from their mobile advertising platform, without having to be in the low-margin hardware business.

        No, they don't. They do not reap much from the 30% cut - i think the last thing Apple reported last year was they handed out $6B or so to developers. That means Apple earned about $3B since the App Store opened. I realize

    • Sounds more like rumours spread around by shareholders attempting to keep the market value up while they cash out before HTF folds.

      Hey HTC support! Remember when I & others told you that abandoning support for your phones mere months after suddenly EOLing them was going to get you removed from everyone's supplier lists?

    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      (Hint, there's a reason besides fanboism that Apple has 95% of the profits)

      Well, the exaggeration aside, not *really*. As a hardware platform, the iPhone is not particularly far ahead (or far behind) than the solid Android handsets. One *could* make the argument that people like iOS software, but that's more subjective than objective featureset. And contrary to Apple touting benefits of owning the whole stack in terms of what's possible, it's generally hollow talk without substance. It can be argued that in key areas it's a simpler ecosystem and therefore they don't have to pr

      • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )

        (Hint, there's a reason besides fanboism that Apple has 95% of the profits)

        Well, the exaggeration aside, not *really*. As a hardware platform, the iPhone is not particularly far ahead (or far behind) than the solid Android handsets.

        It's not an exaggeration [slashdot.org] unless you consider 1% off being an error.

        As for Google, they've been watching Apple clobber their vendors in performance, battery life, maintenance and upgrades over the years. The truth is, Apple makes a better overall product, by far, even if technically on paper they're using lower spec'd parts. It's not each individual part's capabilities that matter, but how it is put together as a whole and how it performs with the software. That they can get similar performance out of fewe

        • by Junta ( 36770 )

          But they haven't been...

          On *average* they have better performance, but that's because Apple doesn't even offer low end handsets. If you compare 'flagship' devices, they are pretty even on at least performance and battery life. Sure, people have less sleek image of Android because they used a sub-200 dollar new handset, but there doesn't exist such an Apple device.

          Similarly for maintenance and updates, there are devices that keep up, but the water is murkier to know which are which.

          • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )

            But they haven't been...

            On *average* they have better performance, but that's because Apple doesn't even offer low end handsets. If you compare 'flagship' devices, they are pretty even on at least performance and battery life. Sure, people have less sleek image of Android because they used a sub-200 dollar new handset, but there doesn't exist such an Apple device.

            Similarly for maintenance and updates, there are devices that keep up, but the water is murkier to know which are which.

            The number of labeled devices which are updated with Android even semi-reliably are countable on the thumb of 1 hand (Google).

            As for the cheapest Apple device - it's $400 from Apple. You can go cheaper, with refurbs, etc. But, you only need 1 in 3-5 years, vs 3-5 with Android if you're wanting to stay current.

    • by Daetrin ( 576516 )
      "Second, Google's tried the 3rd party vendor route and gotten shit products out of it and continues watching Apple reap 95% of the mobile profit. Pixel was an attempt by Google to create a realistic competitor that would actually help them. Now that the Pixel appears realistic, Google needs more control to keep up with Apple who is ahead in many areas."

      The Moto X they made in "collaboration" with Motorola after buying them was great. Its only problem was that it didn't have the full force of the Google ma
    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      Google acquired Motorola Mobility and then sold it off just a couple of years later. Why repeat that move?

      First, Motorola was a patent play. Google gained much protection by buying the patent portfolio.

      Second, Google's tried the 3rd party vendor route and gotten shit products out of it and continues watching Apple reap 95% of the mobile profit. Pixel was an attempt by Google to create a realistic competitor that would actually help them. Now that the Pixel appears realistic, Google needs more control to keep up with Apple who is ahead in many areas. (Hint, there's a reason besides fanboism that Apple has 95% of the profits)

      Google buying HTC outright will have another immediate effect - Samsung's profits. Unless Samsung takes a page out of the same book and creates their own OS dev team and branches Android into their own offering.

      The reason Apple makes significant profits (nowhere near 95%) is that they overcharge for everything. The Iphone hardware is 1/5 of the phones cost here in the UK. You can get the same spec from Samsung for less, go for a lesser known brand like Huawei, WileyFox or OnePlus and it's even cheaper. These companies are still making a profit, just not obscene amounts.

      Also Samsung has little to worry about from HTC or Google's acquisition of HTC.

      Now the real reason Google are buying HTC is because HTC are i

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They will take the best engineers, patents and then leave it for dead. Just like most of Googles acquisitions. Google should buy Slashdot, since it is Google shill central anyway.

  • It would be interesting to see how Google would take HTC forward if this turns out to be true. The problem these days is that "journalists" do very little actual fact checking. A rumor winds up as a story on some sleepy site where it's then picked up by more mainstream media outlets who also don't bother fact checking it.

    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      Probably not that interesting, Google took motorola, made them take out microsd cards, then sold them and they started putting sd card slots back in. Other than that google seemed to do jack to help or hurt motorola.

      • Other than that google seemed to do jack to help or hurt motorola.

        Google bought Motorola to arm up on mobile patents. Phones were just along for the ride.

        The Moto X Pure was the best 4G phone for Android for a while, though, for people who care about things like SD Cards and unlocked bootloaders.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Very interesting.

    • by cirby ( 2599 )

      The Google purchase is for the unprofitable phone part only - HTC is looking to keep the Vive part of the company, from what we've been hearing.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Google should buy Google, so they can shut it down in a few years.

    • Wouldn't work. They would just sell it back to Google. They'd make a huge profit, but claim a loss in their taxes.

  • They had Motorola. Did fuck all with it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by clonehappy ( 655530 )

      Google is the most schizophrenic company in the history of incorporation. They're like a petulant child who gets a new shiny toy, then gets bored with it, throws it away, then wants a new one the next day.

      The best thing to do is refuse to use any and all Google products, and maybe they'll go away.

      • Google is the most schizophrenic company in the history of incorporation. They're like a petulant child who gets a new shiny toy, then gets bored with it, throws it away, then wants a new one the next day.

        Nope, that's HP. See how fast they've ditched Palm stuff after the $1b acquisition of it. (hint: less than 2 years)

        • Schizo implies inconsistent. All that era's HP did was overpay for acquisitions. They wanted bubble valuation, so they bought the most overvalued empty shell companies they could find: Compaq, EDS, Palm etc.

        • by Junta ( 36770 )

          HP at least had a very visibly obvious explanation:

          Hurd wanted desperately to expand the consumer space, Apotheker hated that concept with a passion, and wanted money to go piss away on getting scammed by Autonomy instead.

          Whatever weird thing is going on with google's attention span isn't quite as blatantly obvious from the outside.

      • I think Google (Alphabet ?) makes so much money from advertising they don't have any place to put it so they dabble in a few places, get bored with them, drop them and move on to another thing. Its stock does not pay a dividend, but a nice, fat stock dividend would be a good place to put some of that excess cash.
      • Profit covers over a multitude of mistakes.

      • Motorola wasn't acquired because Google wanted to make smartphones. Motorola was acquired for the patents. At the time, Google was being sued or at least threatened by Microsoft, Nokia, etc. Buying Motorola meant they also acquired any cross-patent licensing agreements that Motorola had. And if those agreeement did not protect Google, they could retaliate with the patents in a war of mutually assured destruction.
  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @10:26AM (#55158745) Homepage Journal

    Having played with Google Glass I have to say it's pretty cool in many respects, there's certainly some first and some potential - but it's not much. By the time you're done with the new it's a creeper cam with head-mounted caller ID and an awkward Bluetooth headset.

    HTC's V.R. team has a great head-mounted video game display that's not useful for all the time / daily wear.

    Put these two together and see if you can make something genuinely useful in a real-world environment without making the wearers look like glass-holes.

  • ... of reference phone options at Project Fi. At one time, the HTC One was the Fi reference phone, and I had one, and it was pretty good, but not nearly as good as what they put together with the Motorola Nexus... my current handset. I'm actually pretty happy to get this news. I hope they're able to evolve the Pixel line forward and continue to demonstrate what pure Android can do.
    • Sure, after evolving from $400 to $1000 with no user-replaceable battery, no dual-sim slot|SD-card slot, the Pixel has evolved to no head-phone jack either. Sweeeeeet.

  • Google basically paid $10B for Motorola's patents. (Bought the company for $12B, sold it for $2B sans patents). I imagine the same is basically true for HTC. But the rationale is different this time. The patent wars are basically over now, so Google is likely be buying HTC's patents to keep them out of the hands of someone else.
    • Re:Why? Patents. (Score:4, Informative)

      by hanwen ( 8589 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @03:31PM (#55160719) Homepage Journal

      Motorola had significant cash and tax offsets, making the effective price about $ 3bn.

      see https://www.quora.com/Why-did-Google-buy-Motorola-for-12-5-billion-and-sell-it-off-for-2-91-billion :

      "And what of Google’s supposed $10bn loss? It’s a misreported myth calculated by subtracting Motorola’s $2.91bn sale price from its $12.5bn purchase. What it misses are the $3.2bn Motorola had in cash, $2.4bn saved in deferred tax assets and two separate Motorola unit sales totalling $2.5bn in 2013. Factor in Lenovo’s purchase against roughly $2bn of Motorola losses during Google’s ownership and Google has still only paid $3bn for what it retained: $5.5bn worth of Motorola patents and the company’s cutting edge research lab."

    • I doubt it's about patents. Although HTC has been in the market for a really long time. They manufactured smartphones, before they were even called that, like the HTC P3330 [gsmarena.com]. They were probably the best Windows Mobile manufacturer around. Back when Microsoft made a phone OS worth considering. They are a Taiwanese company and these typically do not have a lot of experience with patent warfare.

      What would make this sale weird to me though was that HTC is owned by the daughter of the founder of the Formosa Plast

      • Was one of the richest men I guess. I didn't know he had deceased in 2008. Still her family, as well as she Cher Wang [wikipedia.org] personally, are quite rich.

      • Don't think patent war preparation, think patent troll protection. Google's not using them offensively, they just won't want them to land in the hands of someone else. If not patents, then this sale makes no sense. Google is making a killing on Android and it has a very safe place in the ecosystem market.
  • Google sold Motorola at a $10 billion loss! Motorola had arguably better hardware design teams and arguably similar manufacturing capability as HTC. I've love to hear the argument from Google execs as to how and what they will do differently this time. And yes, I know Motorola was a patent play, but that still doesn't answer my question of how they will fix the mismanagement of the hardware teams.

  • My daughter bought a Pixel. It's pretty.
    It has hardware flaws (easily cracked board), crashes.
    That makes a great device for $600

    Maybe they can fix the HTC garbage. My other daughter has an LG Nexus, that's a decent product for 1/2 the price.

    If they buy HTC, good luck.

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