HTC laid off dozens of its employees in the United States as part of a major restructuring effort aiming to merge the tech giant's mobile and virtual reality unit, Digital Trends reported earlier this week, citing an insider familiar with the move. HTC workers were notified of the layoffs yesterday, according to a company spokesperson, though the exact scope of the cuts remains unclear. The source who originally reported on the move estimates up to a hundred people lost their jobs. The move is understood to have primarily targeted HTC North America employees, whereas those in the firm's Global division stationed in the U.S. are said to be unaffected.
The decision is attributed to the company's attempt to "centralize the reporting structure" within its regional division, with the remaining teams now being set to collaborate more closely moving forward. Those units will report to Daniel O’Brien, former General Manager of HTC Vive Americas who was recently promoted to GM of HTC Americas. The restructuring itself has been prompted by the recent resignation of HTC's mobile chief Chailin Chang who suddenly left the firm earlier this month to pursue unspecified personal career projects and won't be directly replaced.
The development is yet another sign that HTC is downsizing its smartphone business without giving up on it entirely, with the company already deciding to reduce the number of new mobile devices it releases on an annual basis starting this year. While the original equipment manufacturer already started teasing the arrival of its next flagship offering, its focus on entry-level and mid-range devices is expected to continue declining moving forward as such product categories bring thin profit margins that even trouble companies that move much more products than HTC currently does. The firm's ability to innovate in the future has also been placed under a question mark in recent times after much of its engineering talent moved to Google as part of a $1.1 billion deal that also allowed the Mountain View, California-based tech giant to use HTC's vast patent portfolio. The Taiwanese OEM is expected to announce at least one new handset at MWC 2018 scheduled to take place next week in Barcelona, Spain.