Google has signed a $1.1 billion cooperation agreement with HTC, the technology company said in a statement on Thursday, after trading of HTC shares were halted on Taiwan’s stock exchange before the announcement.
The move, first rumored earlier this month, is the search giant’s latest attempt to juice up its growing hardware division.
The Google hardware exec Rick Osterloh said in a statement: “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,” Osterloh said, adding that the deal included a nonexclusive license for HTC intellectual property.
Google bought Motorola in a $12.5 billion deal in 2011, only to resell it to Lenovo for $2.91 billion three years later (Google had sold off other parts of Motorola earlier).
At the time, Google said it deemed the overall operation to be a “success,” as it retained Motorola’s most valuable asset, its patent portfolio.
The search giant hired Osterloh, who had been Motorola’s chief operating officer, as its first hardware czar in April of last year and formally put together a hardware team under his leadership.
That resulted in the first solely-Google-branded phone, the Pixel (as well as the larger Pixel XL), and also the Daydream View virtual reality headset. Earlier this year, the Google Home smart speaker followed.
Google is rumored to be interested in chip manufacturing, which could allow it to compete even better with deeply integrated systems like Apple’s iPhone without having to rely on third-party companies like Qualcomm.
When the first batch of made-by-Google devices was unveiled, Osterloh said that hardware was an important component of the tech titan’s business and that the company would be in it “for the long run.” The acquisition of HTC looks like further proof of this commitment.
HTC acted as the “ghost” manufacturer for both Pixel handsets last year, and it is tipped to be the company behind the forthcoming “Pixel 2” (with LG reportedly taking care of the larger, higher-end “Pixel 2 XL”).
In addition to a refreshed phone lineup, a new Pixel-branded Chromebook is also expected to make its debut at Google’s dedicated event, taking place on October 4.
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Source: Business Insider