As we head into the New Year and slowly begin to forget 2012, it seems we're hearing a lot about HTC, and not for the right reasons. HTC, just like any other company who has a bad year, has been trying to run damage control on the poor year that was 2012. We've heard from their CEO, Peter Chou, that poor marketing was to blame for an overly poor 2012 and that 2013 "won't be too bad". With poor figures emerging from the Taiwanese company, we certainly hope that 2013 "won't be too bad" for the once successful company.
HTC have posted their financial results for Q4 of 2012 and while they make for "interesting" reading overall, the big figure to take away from it all is that the company's Net Income was just $34 Million (NT$1 Billion) and while that sounds like a fair number it's the lowest figure they've posted since 2004. That's never good to hear and it's also lower than the NT$10.9 Billion posted last year. For the company to suffer such decline doesn't make for a rosy picture going into 2013 and they will be hoping to get themselves out of this situation during 2013.
Peter Chou sat down with the Wall Street Journal just a few days ago and detailed some of the problems he thought plagued HTC throughout 2012. A lot of his thoughts were based around marketing and that the Taiwanese company struggled to keep with their competitors' spending when it comes to getting the word out. One of the best quotes from the piece was the following:
The worst for HTC has probably passed. 2013 will not be too bad. Our competitors were too strong and very resourceful, pouring in lots of money into marketing. We haven't done enough on the marketing front. Although we don't have as much money to counter [Samsung and Apple], the most important thing is to have unique products that appeal to consumers.
Personally, I think that HTC's problems go far further than just poor marketing. While it's easy – and correct – to say that Samsung spent more money on marketing, they also had a much better overall strategy for 2012. Getting the Galaxy S III and the Note II out on all the four major carriers – as the same phone – relatively close to each other is not only the first time that's happened in the U.S. but it's the best way to sell devices in volume. With that strategy Samsung got the Galaxy S and the Note II brand out in the consumer mind, HTC on the other hand, had the One X on AT&T, One S on T-Mobile, the EVO 4G LTE on Sprint and then the Droid DNA on Verizon. All of them great phones but it doesn't exactly scream "HTC make good phones" it more or less says "we'll make what you want" which was good for them years ago but now they're a big brand and they should finally be acting as one.