Under the deal, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) will pay High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498) $1.1 billion in cash to get "certain HTC employees –- many of whom are already working with Google to develop Pixel smartphones," HTC says. In turn, Google will get a non-exclusive license to some HTC intellectual property (IP).
The deal is expected to close early in 2018.
Essentially, Google has brought the team that designed its well-received Pixel Android smartphone, launched in October 2016, in-house. A second version of the Pixel smartphone is expected this year.
"This is the right time to be focused on hardware and software," Google's then-new hardware chief Rick Osterloh, said at the launch. "We believe the next big intersection is going to take place at the intersection of hardware and software."
The initial Pixel had a strong focus on integration with the Google digital assistant, Google Home, and its initial augmented and virtual reality offerings. (See Google's New Dream: Pixel, VR & an AI Assistant With Smarts.)
The planned buy-out puts Google right back in the high-end software game. This means the search giant will take on Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s iPhone line and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC)'s Galaxy series, among others. (See Apple's New iPhones: No Gigabit LTE for You!, Overpriced & Underwhelming, Apple's New iPhone Lacks X Factor and Samsung Galaxy S8 to Kickstart 'Gigabit LTE' Race in US.)
It is, however, less ambitious than Google's ill-fated acquisition of Motorola Mobility in 2011 for $12.5 billion.
Earlier reports had Google buying HTC in whole, not in part, but the Taiwanese company says that it will continue in the smartphone market. The company currently has around a 2% market share, lower than Apple, Samsung or Huawei. (See Google Considering HTC Buyout – Report.)
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading