Rumors began to percolate early this month that Google and HTC were on the verge of agreeing to a deal that would let Google take over the struggling smartphone maker. Now that rumor is sounding all but inevitable as HTC has halted trading of its shares on the Taiwan Stock Exchange pending a major announcement. However, the acquisition may not be as complete as the Moto deal in 2011.
It's late in the day on Wednesday in Taipei right now, and HTC shares won't begin trading on Thursday due to the upcoming announcement. The nature of that announcement isn't clear—it might not have anything to do with Google, but it's looking like a safe bet right now.
HTC just announced it's shares will halt trading tomorrow (Thur) pending a major announcement.
— TIM CULPAN (@tculpan) September 20, 2017
As we covered recently, HTC has been on the decline for years. While the U11 is arguably the best phone HTC has released in a long time, sales have already dropped off, and revenue is even lower than last year at this stage. Google is expected to have the smaller of this year's Pixels manufactured by HTC, so it can't just let the company go under.
There's speculation that Google (possibly Alphabet) won't be taking over the company a la Motorola. Instead, Google could just scoop up HTC's smartphone business and the associated manufacturing operations. In fact, the "HTC" brand might not be part of the deal, according to Evan Blass.
The Vive virtual reality segment could continue on as an HTC product—the only major HTC product, actually. HTC might just get out of the Android game by selling off that chunk of the company to Google. So, after the deal is done, Google would be able to make its own phones with the facilities and supply chains it has acquired.