HTC, the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer is long past its glory days as the number one Android manufacturer; from consisting of over 67% of Android phone sales, HTC has now fallen to less than 4% of the market and is now being grouped into the 'other' category in recent analytic reports. As a result of falling market share their profits have also fallen, in Q1 of 2013 they only made $2.85 million in profit, compare that to Samsung's $5.1 billion and you really notice how little money that is for a multinational company. However a fading market share is the least of the company's woes as they are now faced with a myriad of other problems that may lead to the ultimate collapse of the company.
The HTC First, known to some as the Facebook Phone has been a disastrous product launch. Both Facebook and HTC had high hopes for this mid-range smartphone that promised to be the ultimate social networking tool. The phone, while decent on the hardware front has fallen flat on its face and will be discontinued by AT&T. According to sources the HTC First sold less than 15,000 units in a week, compare this to the Samsung Galaxy S4 which is slated to sell around 10 million phones in its first month and you can see how relatively small these figures are.
While the HTC First was more of a branded device that was made on the behalf of Facebook, its failure is still a nail in the coffin for HTC and unfortunately for the Taiwanese manufacturer their flagship product, the HTC One has had its own share of problems.
The HTC One is the brilliant phone and is one of the favorites amongst us here working at Android Headlines. Unfortunately the revolutionary hardware and design of the device has led to supply shortages worthy of the Nexus 4. With technologies such as the HDR microphone, which was recently axed and the revolutionary 'ultrapixel' camera leading its hand in the supply shortage the initial shipments of the HTC One have been much lower than expected. While they have supposedly fixed their supply issues HTC has lost its head start into the market and by the time production was able to catch up, the juggernaut that is the Samsung Galaxy S4 had entered the market. While you could argue that the HTC One is better phone than the Galaxy S4, that could have also been said about last year's HTC One X when compared to the Galaxy S3, yet as sales figures revealed Samsung did come out ahead and reports have shown that this year won't be any different. Therefore, HTC failed to capitalize when it had the market all to itself and now faces stiff competition from Samsung and a plethora of other manufacturers now fighting over the Android market.
Unfortunately, products aren't the only problems HTC have been facing recently as they are now bleeding employees. The most recent casualty has been their Chief Product Officer Kouji Kodera who left the company last week. Kodera was responsible for HTC's product strategy, which devices they were going to develop and release. His main focus for this year was the HTC One, which was their Hail Mary and unfortunately their gamble does not appear to be paying off. HTC did release a statement concerning the matter "Kouji Kodera has left HTC to pursue other interests, we appreciate his contributions and wish him all the best. Scott Croyle will take over his duties." Kodera joined the company back in 2010 after working in a similar position for Sony Ericsson.
Other executive members that have left the company include Jason Gordon the company's vice president of global communications, Rebecca Rowland former global retail marketing manager, John Starkweather director of digital marketing as well as manager of product strategy Eric Lin. These managers have now found themselves in other companies with Starkweather now working for AT&T while Lin and Rowland are now part of Microsoft. Eric Lin who is now with Microsoft "making Skype awesome on Android" has tweeted:
While HTC does appear to be hemorrhaging staff, if the HTC One fails to dig them out of the hole they are currently in they may well lose their biggest executive yet, their current CEO and President Peter Chou has promised to step down if this smartphone fails. Hopefully HTC will be saved, they do make some great products, however as time goes on this seems ever more unlikely.