Today the Financial Times reported that HTC’s CEO Peter Chou will relinquish some of his daily operational responsibilities to Cher Wang, another of the company’s founders. Chou will use his now freer schedule to focus on HTC’s smartphones.
HTC is a company in trouble. Ascendent during the early boom times of the Android ecosystem, HTC has suffered from bleeding market share, sliding revenue, and a recent nine-figure quarterly loss (USD). Its much-hyped One handset has failed to turn its fortunes. The company is losing money for the first time in its more than decade-long history as a public company.
For the three-month period ending August 30, 2012, HTC had around 12.3 percent market share. During the same period in 2013, HTC had roughly 6 percent market share. The market might have expanded, lessening the implied unit decline, but HTC is certainly struggling to connect with consumers.
Better focus on product could salvage its position in its current war with Samsung.
Is Chou being fired? The Financial Times intimates that he is not, describing his move as “temporary.” Chou provided comment to the newspaper, stating that he had taken on “too many things.” Now, he is “very focused.” Without phones that can compete with offerings from companies that control their own platform (Google, Apple, and Microsoft), and produce their own hardware (Google, Apple, and [soon] Microsoft), HTC has little chance of rebound. So, the focus on product is a step in the right direction.
If Chou is on the way out, it likely won’t be voluntary. He said in June: “There are a lot of rumors that say I would quit, but I never said that. I’m not going to find another job.”
Top Image Credit: Kārlis Dambrāns