Google continues 'big bet' on hardware with $1bn deal for HTC assets

Google has struck a deal with HTC to acquire part of the smartphone manufacturer for around $1bn (£740m).

Google's Pixel: manufactured by HTC
Google's Pixel: manufactured by HTC

The two companies have a close relationship, with HTC manufacturing Google’s Pixel smartphone. It also previously made products in the obsolete Nexus range. HTC was also the first company to release a smartphone using Android, the HTC Dream, in 2008.

Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice-president, hardware, confirmed the deal in a blog.

Osterloh wrote: "Creating beautiful products that people rely on every single day is a journey, and we are investing for the long run.

"That’s why we’ve signed an agreement with HTC, a leader in consumer electronics, that will fuel even more product innovation in the years ahead."

Osterloh said the agreement includes a "team of HTC talent" and a non-exclusive licence for HTC intellectual property.

The deal will see about 2,000 staff transferred from HTC to Google, the Financial Times reports, but will not involve any of HTC’s manufacturing assets. 

Google previously acquired Motorola in 2011 for $12.5bn, but sold the brand three years later for just $2.9bn to Lenovo – though it retained most of the patents it gained with the acquisition. Lenovo called time on the Motorola brand in 2016.