Google has finalised a $1.1bn deal to acquire a significant portion of HTC’s hardware business, it was announced on January 30. The transaction was first agreed in September but has now formally closed.
As part of the deal, Google will acquire more than 2,000 engineers and gain non-exclusive rights to HTC’s intellectual property. The staff members being transferred are unlikely to experience too much of shock, given many of them were part of the HTC hardware team recently involved in several Google projects.
The HTC acquisition gives Google a huge new engineering base in Taiwan, which will become the company’s largest in the Asia-Pacific region
Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president for hardware, announced the company was delighted to welcome the team on board in a more permanent capacity.
“These new colleagues bring decades of experience achieving a series of ‘firsts’ particularly in the smartphone industry – including bringing to market the first 3G smartphone in 2005, the first touch-centric phone in 2007 and the first all-metal unibody phone in 2013,” Osterloh said. “This is also the same team we’ve been working closely with on the development of the Pixel and Pixel 2.”
The HTC acquisition also gives Google a huge new engineering base in Taipei, Taiwan, which will become the company’s largest in the Asia-Pacific region. It’s hoped the facility will become a hub for future hardware products and help to build on a number of other recent developments in the area. In December, the search engine firm announced plans to open an AI centre in Beijing, and last week confirmed a new cross-licensing deal with Chinese tech company Tencent.
Despite being one of the most recognisable companies in the world, Google remains a relatively small player in the smartphone hardware market. The devices the company has made so far – often in partnership with other manufacturers – have generally been well received, but haven’t exactly recorded earth-shattering sales figures. If the HTC acquisition can change that, then the likes of Apple and Samsung may begin to regard Google as a serious rival.