After weeks of speculation, it looks like Google won’t be buying HTC’s phone business outright.
Instead, Google and HTC have signed an agreement that brings a team of HTC employees (many of whom worked on the Pixel phones) to join Google’s hardware team, under the leadership of Rick Osterloh, Google’s SVP of Hardware.
“HTC has been a longtime partner of Google and has created some of the most beautiful, premium devices on the market,” said Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President of Hardware at Google. “We’re excited and can’t wait to welcome members of the HTC team who will be joining Google to fuel further innovation and future product development in consumer hardware.”
The agreement is worth $1.1 billion USD, HTC will receive the cash while Google gets a non-exclusive license for HTC’s intellectual property (IP) to use in hardware designed in-house at Google. HTC will continue to operate and still create their own branded smartphones.
“As a pioneer of the smartphone market, we are very proud of our history of innovation. Our unmatched smartphone value chain, including our IP portfolio, and world-class talent and system integration capabilities, have supported Google in bolstering the Android market,” said Cher Wang, Chairwoman and CEO of HTC. “This agreement is a brilliant next step in our longstanding partnership, enabling Google to supercharge their hardware business while ensuring continued innovation within our HTC smartphone and VIVE virtual reality businesses. We believe HTC is well positioned to maintain our rich legacy of innovation and realize the potential of a new generation of connected products and services.”
The deal is expected to close in early 2018.