Google is making another big buy into smartphone hardware — or at least the people responsible for creating it. The company has just confirmed in a blog that it plans to acquire part of HTC’s mobile division team for $1.1 billion. The deal also includes a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property. “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,” Rick Osterloh, Google’s hardware boss, wrote in a blog post. “”
This will not mean that HTC will not make phones anymore, they continue onward with their own smartphone business even after sending a good portion of its talent and operations over to Google. HTC CEO Cher Wang said that this agreement will “ensure continued innovation within our HTC smartphone and Vive virtual reality business.” In fact, HTC’s press release reveals that the company is already “actively preparing” for its next flagship smartphone.
This is mot new for for Google to make a big purchase involving a smartphone manufacturer. Six years ago, Google announced a $12.5 billion buyout of Motorola Mobility. “Together, we will create amazing user experiences that supercharge the entire Android ecosystem for the benefit of consumers, partners and developers everywhere,” said then-Google CEO Larry Page.
Buying a chunk of HTC’s smartphone team means that Google will directly challenge Android partners including Samsung, LG, Huawei — even more directly now than it did as Motorola’s parent company. “We’re excited about the 2017 lineup, but even more inspired by what’s in store over the next five, 10, even 20 years,” said Osterloh. “Creating beautiful products that people rely on every single day is a journey, and we are investing for the long run.”