Google acqui-hires 2,000 HTC employees for $1.1 billion

In a blog post today, Google's SVP of Hardware Rich Osterloh announced that the company is making a major acquisition from HTC. However, unlike typical acquisitions, only a specific part of the company's workforce is changing hands in the deal. According to the New York Times (NYT), Google is picking up some two thousand of HTC's employees in exchange for $1.1 billion in cash. The deal also includes a non-exclusive licensing agreement for some of HTC's intellectual property.

The move is a huge expansion of Google's hardware division, and Osterloh described it as "a continuation of [Google's] big bet on hardware." Google said that most of the HTC employees encompassed by the deal were already working closely with the search giant on the Pixel smartphone.

According to the NYT report, HTC's Peter Shen said the smartphone manufacturer will still retain around half of its R&D staff after the deal. The company's had tough financial times lately, and it has made major cuts to marketing and research. The cash that HTC's getting from this deal might help level the ship out.

After listing off all of Google's current hardware—Google Home, Google Wifi, Daydream View, Chromecast Ultra, and of course the Pixel phone—Osterloh promised "a second generation of products" on October 4. You can rest assured we'll have full coverage of those announcements, so stay tuned.

Comments closed
    • End User
    • 2 years ago

    Too little. Too late. Apple is so far ahead now with their own silicon that Google has no hope of making a difference with a 3rd rate purchase.

    WTF happened to Motorola? (I know the answer, I’m just being a wanker.)

    • kmieciu
    • 2 years ago

    So HTC is selling Google their slaves …

      • flip-mode
      • 2 years ago

      No, their hardware engineers.

      Here are your slaves:
      [url<]https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/09/19/Report-40-million-live-in-slavery-125-million-in-child-labor/2931505835454/[/url<]

    • southrncomfortjm
    • 2 years ago

    Seems like an awfully steep price.

      • Redocbew
      • 2 years ago

      No doubt Google paid more for the licensing than they did the employees. Sad, but true.

      • fullbodydenim
      • 2 years ago

      It’s a lot less in fact about 1/12 what they paid for Motorola Mobility ($12 billion) several years ago before spinning it off to Lenovo just a few years later for quite a bit less. (Minus all of the patents which they kept.). Well see how this deal pans out but it seems more reasonable since HTC already manufactured the Pixel phones for them.

        • willmore
        • 2 years ago

        MM had more than just people an pattents. They had buildings, manufacturing facilities, etc.

    • Krogoth
    • 2 years ago

    We are the Google. Lower your firewalls and legal teams. Surrender your assets to us. Your Intellectual and cultural distinctness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile.

    • NTMBK
    • 2 years ago

    So now Google has enough engineers to make a sensibly priced midrange phone as well as the Pixel nonsense? Right?

      • Flying Fox
      • 2 years ago

      They will just continue with HTC’s path of producing weird and expensive stuff, like using more sapphires, continuing with the no headphone jack nonsense, and other stupid things.

      • flip-mode
      • 2 years ago

      There would need to be a profitable reason to do so. I totally love my 5X. It is a great phone. I would love it if Google offered a compelling upgrade at the same $350 price (got mine for $250 on Project Fi actually). But while Google was giving us great value options Samsung and Apple got all the glory and the profits. Google is running a business after all. I don’t blame them one bit for going in the direction that makes business sense.

        • strangerguy
        • 2 years ago

        Google never wanted to be a mass volume device manufacturer, there is already so many OEMs willing to bleed themselves dry for Google and they could care less what Android version/hardware people use as long as it runs Gapps for the sweet, sweet datamining money.

        The real reason Nexus exists is an mindshare grab to snatch the tutelage of Android away from their frenemy Samsung. Pixel mostly exists to deal with Apple’s growing hardware superiority with better software; if Apple ever completely dominates the flagship segment, Android becomes less important in the market = less power and money for Google.

    • mudcore
    • 2 years ago

    Motorola? Deja vu?

      • derFunkenstein
      • 2 years ago

      The acquisition of Motorola was about getting patents, and then fixing up the brand so that someone else (Lenovo) would want to buy the name. Google is not getting any of the HTC brand and only a cross-license deal for whatever value the patents of HTC has. Huge difference.

        • mudcore
        • 2 years ago

        Motorola acquisition included all of the same consumer electronics talent being bought here. I too can point out the surface differences. At the end of the day both moves were/are being made to kick start, again, Google branded consumer electronics. You’re going back in time to justify what was mismanagement by Google of Motorola. This is Google attempting to redo parts of that.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 2 years ago

          If you think Motorola’s phone division was better off doing what it was…well, I guess we’ll just disagree. Google execs were quoted multiple times saying that they had to [url=https://qz.com/46411/google-x-phone-with-long-battery-life-wireless-charging-and-an-unbreakable-case/<]get rid of 12-18 months worth of stuff in the pipeline[/url<] before the real Google designs could come out, and the first one was the Moto X, which was a pretty great phone. Even at the time of the acquisition, people knew [url=https://www.anandtech.com/show/4624/observations-on-the-googlemotorola-purchase<]it was about the patents[/url<].

      • DancinJack
      • 2 years ago

      Nope.

    • GrimDanfango
    • 2 years ago

    So now both of the two lead players in the VR race are owned by mass-data-mining, privacy-trampling monsters. Joy.

    Anyone had any luck getting Vive or Rift working on Linux?

      • NTMBK
      • 2 years ago

      Google are only buying some of the phone team, not the VR guys.

        • psuedonymous
        • 2 years ago

        And on top of [i<]that[/i<], all HTC's Vive IP is licensed from Valve. Without it, all they have is a bog standard two-panels-two-lenses HMD which could have been made decades ago (and was, e.g. LEEP Cyberface 2). Google would need to re-license it from them, and why bother when they have their [i<]own[/i<] VR IP (e.g. Worldsense)?

    • DeadOfKnight
    • 2 years ago

    This pretty much just sounds like Google wants to be the next Apple. Microsoft has been trying to for years, but I don’t see it happening. It’s hard to catch up in a market full of loyal followers.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 2 years ago

      Apple contracts out all of its production. Mostly to Foxconn.

      I don’t disagree with the premise, but they’re going about it in different ways.

    • EndlessWaves
    • 2 years ago

    Meanwhile the premiere league recently spent £1.17 billion on transfers, an average of £15 million per employee.

    Apparently footballers are worth around forty times as much as smartphone engineers.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 2 years ago

      That’s generally how it works. Pro athletes and big movie/TV celebrities—anything that gets you in front of millions of people—is where the money is.

      • ludi
      • 2 years ago

      My job helps ensure that the stadium has power, but the guy throwing a ball inside the stadium can sell the 30,000 tickets which provide a reason for its existence. Guess who gets paid a LOT more?

    • derFunkenstein
    • 2 years ago

    Cash keeps them afloat but if they only have half the R&D staff, it seems like HTC will be making a lot less stuff going forward. Of course, 4,000 designers is a lot of people, so maybe it’s just Google hiring on a bunch of folks before HTC cut them loose, and giving HTC a finder’s fee.

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