Google is reportedly close to acquiring HTC's mobile business as the Taiwan-based company continues to struggle with financial losses. According to China's Commercial Times, Google and HTC are in the final stages of negotiating a deal where Google will rescue the company behind the first Android smartphone.
HTC launched the very first Android smartphone in 2008 and is also the manufacturer for Google's first Pixel-branded smartphones. The report states that Google is either looking to acquire HTC's smartphone business or become a strategic partner. In the past year, HTC has differentiated its smartphone division and Vive virtual reality unit and has focused more on the latter. DigiTimes notes that the demand for HTC made smartphones have waned and there doesn't seem to be a turnaround in the near future.
If Google acquires HTC's smartphone business then it won't be the first time for the search giant to rescue its OEM partner. The company famously rescued struggling Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in 2012, only to offload it two years later for a mere $2.91 billion. However, Google said that its Motorola acquisition has been a major success in the form of access to a vast majority of patents.
HTC, once known for its premium design and superior build quality, lost its prominent place to Samsung in the last few years. The company's latest flagship U11 was promising, but failed to stand against Samsung's Galaxy S8 with the nearly bezel-less design.
On the other hand, Google has ditched the Nexus brand to announce its own Pixel and Pixel XL premium Android smartphones last year. The smartphones were a critical success, but Google failed to offer enough supplies. With the acquisition of HTC, Google stands to gain a manufacturing partner for its Pixel lineup, while the former's engineering prowess will continue to be available on a flagship device.