Virtual reality is becoming a major focus for struggling smartphone maker HTC, but not so major that it will spin out its VR business into a standalone company.
The firm today issued a statement denying a report from local media in its home country of Taiwan which claimed Chairwoman Cher Wang is in the process of creating a new VR entity that is wholly owned by her and HTC. The report suggested that the idea of a spin-out was first raised last year, around the time that then-CEO Peter Chou stepped down to lead product development, but was abandoned for some reason and is now being revived.
Not so, HTC said:
Recent media reports in Taiwan, such as by United Evening News, stating that Cher Wang is planning to spin off HTC’s VR operations into an independent entity that will be wholly owned by Wang is incorrect. HTC will continue to develop our VR business to further maximize value for shareholders.
Speaking of shareholders. HTC’s stock price jumped at the initial reports, rising by over five percent to NT$76.60. If you’ve been following HTC — which was trading below its cash on hand last year, effectively making the company worthless — then you’ll know that moving its needle in a positive direction is no easy thing.
HTC is pinned its comeback on a combination of cost-cutting (15 percent layoffs) and more marketable devices, but the company said that the Internet of things, wearables and VR are also areas where it believes it can rebuild its popularity with consumers.
The company forged important links last year as Chou took a role as executive director role with Hong Kong-based Digital Domain, in addition to his work with HTC and HTC invested $10 million in VR platform company WEVR.
The initial fruit of the company’s VR labor is the HTC Vive which, following much delay, will finally be available in April. The device impressed us last year, but how will it fare among the general public? We’ll see soon.