For the past few years, HTC has been reporting its revenue at the end of each month, so that investors aren't as surprised when the quarterly earnings come out. Part of this is because HTC's revenue has been declining by quite a bit from month-to-month, never mind year-over-year. And October 2018 was no different. It reported NT$1.31 Billion (or about $42.63 million USD) in revenue for the month. That brings revenue for the entire year (so far) to around NT$20.91 billion, or around $676.81 million USD. This is a small increase of about four-percent compared to September, when it reported about $40.64 million. However, it is a massive decrease from October 2017, of about 78.44-percent. That's a major drop for HTC, but it is not out of the ordinary for HTC. We've seen the company drop more than 50-percent year-over-year, many times in the past few years. Which would be very shocking for most companies, but HTC hasn't had a good quarter in quite a few years, partly due to the very competitive smartphone market.
HTC is now on track to miss the $1 billion revenue milestone for 2018, after only getting to $676.81 million in the first ten months of the year. HTC would need to have a really big November and December to hit that milestone. Which is possible, seeing as these are the biggest months of the year, with plenty of sales going on. But HTC doesn't have many products available this year. In the US, it's just the HTC U12+ and its Vive lineup, while in Europe, the HTC U12 Life is also available, and that's it. That's going to make it pretty tough for HTC to have a better November and December. This would be the first time in a decade that HTC did not hit the $1 billion milestone for revenue. The last time this happened, was before Android was around. And obviously, that was before smartphones really took off.
Background: It's no secret that HTC has been struggling for at least five years now, perhaps a bit longer. The company used to be one of the biggest smartphone makers in the world, and in fact it was the maker of the first Android smartphone (the T-Mobile G1 in the US/HTC Dream elsewhere) and of the first Nexus phone with Google. Between 2010 and 2012 it really hit its stride. With the EVO lineup on Sprint, the Nexus One with Google and the Desire lineup in Europe. In fact, in 2012, it had over 80 different SKUs of smartphones in the world. Of course, this was back when every carrier in the US wanted their own exclusive smartphone. HTC had trouble selling that many different smartphones, so it decided to cut back, and it did so pretty drastically. Cutting down to a handful of devices in its new HTC One branding. That didn't really help HTC much, and in fact, likely hurt it a bit more. Since then, HTC has gone back and forth on its idea of doing less devices and only focusing on high-end smartphones or offering a couple of mid-range and budget options. Particularly in the Desire lineup. HTC has had a few hits since then, but the company has fallen so far behind its competitors, that it still can't manage to make a dent in its revenue numbers with a hit smartphone.
HTC was once known for having some of the best built smartphones. Like the HTC Sensation, which was back in the days of plastic, but HTC was using polycarbonate and it was a great looking phone that also felt great in the hand. Then there was the polycarbonate on the HTC One X, and the aluminum on the HTC One M7 and M8 smartphones. And even now with the HTC U12+ and its glass design, it is one of the better built smartphones on the market today, but it just can't get any attention due to everyone else that is out there, and HTC's marketing. HTC has also been looking to cut back in some areas, and has done so successfully, so it's not losing as much money as it once was. But the revenue numbers dropping are not helping those cut backs.
Impact: For many years, critics of HTC have said that it would be going under pretty soon. And surprisingly, HTC is still around. Part of the success of HTC recently has been Vive – its VR division. The HTC Vive was heralded as one of the best VR headsets on the market, and has continued to improve that headset over the past few years. It's really what is holding HTC together right now. Sure there are other companies out there that are bleeding in the smartphone division, but for HTC, smartphones was all they had. Sony is bleeding in its mobile division, but it is doing really well in TVs, Cameras and PlayStation, which is keeping the mobile division afloat. And now that is what HTC is trying to do with Vive.
HTC is part of Android's history, much like Motorola was/is, and many have thought that Google may try to buy HTC. Well, actually, Google did buy part of HTC. Google acquired the engineers that HTC had working on Pixel with Google, last year, which gave HTC a bit of a jump in its revenue, but the company still hasn't managed to turn things around. Hopefully HTC is able to change things rather soon, the one thing the smartphone world doesn't need is another smartphone maker going down in flames. Instead, it needs more competition so that users get more innovative smartphones, especially with smartphones getting to be more and more expensive. If HTC could release a really competitive smartphone that cost less than the competition, they would likely be back in business. But that doesn't fit in with HTC's brand. They are more of a high-end company with innovative designs and such. Which is true, but at this point, that brand isn't going to be around much longer, so they are going to need to try something different.