HTC was the first manufacturer to produce Android devices, and it continued as a top-tier OEM even after the platform caught on. But that was then, and this is now. HTC has struggled to compete with the likes of Samsung and Huawei, shedding workers year after year. Now, HTC will cut 1,500 jobs in Taiwan, which represents almost a quarter of its remaining workforce.
To understand how far HTC has fallen, you need only look at the number of employees it had a few years ago. At its height in 2013, HTC had 19,000 employees. As of summer 2016, that number was about 14,000. Currently, it's down to 6,450 after shifting 2,000 engineers over to Google in last year's $1.1 billion deal. The new round of layoffs will take HTC to less than 5,000 global employees.
HTC says this is an attempt to "optimize the manufacturing organizations in Taiwan." It plans to have shown all those employees the door by September. Trimming expenses might help to keep the lights on, but it's starting to look like HTC is doomed. The company is seeing 50% year-over-year revenue drops coupled with big operating losses. That $1.1 billion from Google isn't going to last forever.