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HTC in Crisis: Failing Phones and Supply Woes Lead to Firings

Steven Blum
3
HTCOne M4
© AndroidPIT

We all knew HTC was in trouble. With a plummeting stock price and weak international sales, the company's future before the release of the HTC One appeared dire. But many believed the HTC One – lauded by critics for its innovative design and gorgeous display – would help pull the company out of its rut. 

Turns out, we were wrong. For now at least, HTC is still a mess. 

Today we learned that HTC's Chief Product Officer, Kouji Kodera, left the company last week. Kodera was responsible for HTC's overall product strategy. He's just one of a number of top-level employees fired in the past three months – many in the marketing department. As a result of this, and other things, the company is in "disarray" according to a source via the Verge.

twitter eric lin
Eric Lin, a former manager at HTC, told current employees to "just quit" via Twitter. © Twitter, Eric Lin

Turns out, HTC's botched First phone – developed in coordination with Facebook – is killing morale at the company. The phone has been a "disaster" according to a source at HTC. Interestingly, Facebook may be the company to blame here – Zuckerberg promised HTC he'd give the First a period of exclusivity, then pulled the rug out by announcing the Facebook Home early. The phone is now available for a pitiful $.99 via AT&T because of the overwhelming lack of demand. 

Meanwhile, the HTC One can't catch a break. Despite stellar reviews, its launch has been plagued by supply chain shortages and HTC doesn't have nearly enough marketing money to compete with Samsung for consumers. 

In the end, it was unreasonable to expect the HTC One to magically fix HTC's problems. Samsung has such a long leg up on HTC that they're going to need a string of blockbuster devices in order to compete. But what's always struck me is that, no matter how much the company is suffering, HTC's been consistently churning out great phones recently. I wish HTC could figure out a way to play to their strengths, even in this tough marketplace.

For now it seems the company is in a state of panic and looking for folks to blame. CEO Peter Chou is desperately attempting to steer the company out of troubled waters, but in the process he's creating a company culture of fear. In this "David and Goliath" tale, it's not clear whether there's going to be a happy ending for anyone.

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Comments

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  • ljhaye 10 months ago Link

    Is anybody really shocked??? Samsung claims 94.7% of all android profits!!!! no OEM can last for long not making money in the smartphone space. Yes the analyst appluad HTC phones but the consumer ONLY buys Samsung phones. No one cares that Android is free and open it is killing off all OEMs not named Samsung. iPhone model is the only model that works and makes money and ONLY Samsung is copying that model aggressively.
    Look at motorola, negative profits for 9 consecutive qtrs! LG 2.2% of android profit! Huwai, ZTE, other make up the remaining money.

    Samsung makes more money on mobile than google makes on advertising for the past 2 qtrs.

    In the end free software still has a price!!

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  • CJ Brown 10 months ago Link

    Nobody is questioning what is going on @ HTC Corporate Offices ... but as Consumers, we still question why the fuck doesn't HTC do more to advertise their Smart Phones? (where are the commercials, print ads, etc? Why rely on Carriers to only advertise your Smart Phones?) Please step up to the plate, or move on ...

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  • Geoffrey S. 10 months ago Link

    Sadly, this (among other articles posted here) is about as subjective as it is possible for an article to be. I am an HTC user. I have not had any problems with any of the three phones I have had the pleasure of using. Some problems with my carrier, but the devices themselves have operated essentially, flawlessly. It is possible to turn apps and widgets off or at the very least, to remove them from your sync account. This will generally render them, for all intents and purposes, invisible. If all else fails, shift them away from your home screen and IGNORE them! With regard to hardware, the HTC one has no competitor. It is currently the optimum hardware available on ANY handset and outperforms many of the tablets currently available! In this regard, I am frankly disappointed with Samsung who continue to churn out the same old...! HTC are still turning a profit, albeit small by comparison to a company like Samsung. Stop giving HTC such undue NEGATIVE publicity where it is absolutely NOT warranted, and maybe people might actually pay some attention to what they ARE doing right and in my humble opinion are doing extremely well! I can't speak for everyone else, but I personally believe I have the priviledge of using what is arguably the best handset currently available on the market! Keep up the awesome work everyone at HTC. People DO know a good product when they're given the opportunity to see it!

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