Late yesterday it was announced that Google had signed an agreement with HTC for staff and intellectual property for $1.1 Billion. The agreement means that, essentially, the HTC staff that have worked on the Google Pixel phones will become Google employees and the Mountain View company will be able to license the Taiwanese company’s IP, non-exclusively.
This is slightly different than what was expected early yesterday when it was assumed that Google would be buying HTC outright.
With this agreement, a team of HTC talent will join Google as part of the hardware organization. These future fellow Googlers are amazing folks we’ve already been working with closely on the Pixel smartphone line, and we’re excited to see what we can do together as one team. The deal also includes a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property.
The deal means that HTC will remain in the smartphone business as a manufacture and is expected to release their own flagship early next year. But as for work with the Mountain View company, it appears that work is over as it is now in-house for the search giant.
Google’s work with HTC goes back over a decade and was started with the first Android phone, the HTC Dream (here in the US, it was known as the T-Mobile G1). That work continued with the Nexus One (2010), the Nexus 9 (2014) and the Google Pixel from last year.
From HTC’s perspective, this gives the company a much needed cash injection. HTC has struggled the past few years under ever increasing competition and lack luster phones. This also allows the company to streamline their business, a process they have been going through the past couple of years, to focus on their own key mobile products and the Vive VR business.
Early views of the $1.1 Billion price tag for the staff and IP are generally considered to be positive if not an outright deal. Remember that the company paid over $12 Billion for Motorola in 2012, a deal that provided the foundations for the Google hardware division we know today but generally was not a success.