HTC’s CEO: “The worst has probably passed. 2013 will not be too bad.”

January 4, 2013

HTC isn’t exactly in the best shape. Their stock price is off by 80% compared to its peak in 2010, the launch of the Sensation is 2011 was a train wreck, and while the One X was a great phone when it was announced in early 2012, Samsung’s Galaxy S3 stole all that device’s thunder when it came out during the summer months. So what’s the company going to do to turn things around? The first step is to admit that you’ve hit your bottom. HTC’s CEO, Peter Chou, spoke to The Wall Street Journal today about the performance of the company, and he said:

“The worst for HTC has probably passed. 2013 will not be too bad. Our competitors were too strong and very resourceful, pouring in lots of money into marketing. We haven’t done enough on the marketing front. Although we don’t have as much money to counter [Samsung and Apple], the most important thing is to have unique products that appeal to consumers.”

Dale Gai, an analyst at Barclays, says HTC is in a tricky place mainly because they don’t make any components. That, more so than the marketing problem, is what we feel puts HTC in a terrible position. Samsung makes their own screens, processors, memory chips, and many other parts required to make a mobile phone. The same can be said about LG. Now yes, Apple doesn’t “make” their own components, but they do buy equipment for their component suppliers.

When you really stop and think about it, what exactly does HTC do? They take Google’s software, Qualcomm’s chips, Sharp’s screens, and then slap everything together. As the rest of the industry tries to become vertically integrated, HTC is stuck acting like a company from the the turn of the century. Other than firing lots of people and going stock Android, we don’t know what advice to give this company.

Comments

  • mohdamr1

    htc follow samsung and make expandable storage and removeable battery – most users complain about your lack of these options.

  • Jazli Aziz

    Stop diluting the market with new phones every few months, and use that money that would have gone into production for marketing instead.

    • musiclover

      precisely, if you can’t do it like samsung, do it like apple :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1222239541 Parijat Mishra

    Bring back the glory days of HTC.. The HTC HD2, as of now, can run, Android, Windows Phone and Windows RT! And its about 3-4 years old! So, how was that possible? “Open-ness”..

    Basically, start making developer-friendly devices like you used to and watch your sales rise higher than ever. Become the “developer’s phone”.

  • http://twitter.com/danmcsw danmcsw

    The worst might not be over if they don’t make some dramatic changes in their behaviour.

    1. HTC Sense has got to go. Most people do not like this interface/skin in any of its iterations regardless whether it is Sense 3.6, 4.0, 4.1 or 5000. Sense is the main reason there is such a delay in receiving updates, typically it takes HTC around 6 months after Google bring out a new Android version, to put the Sense skin on top and test it before release. This is quite frankly a crock. By the time they have gone through this process Google have a new Android version brought out a la Jellybean 4.2 late October beat the HTC One X Jellybean 4.1 release.

    2. Another behaviour, very off-putting for customers, is the effective abandonment of support and updates for former flagship devices, in less than a year from release of device. Essentially once the newer generation of phones appear, the previous is practically ignored.

    I, as the owner of a Sensation know this only too well. The Sensation came out ~ May 2011. It got updated to ICS 4.0.3 last April (circa 6 months after the ICS/Galaxy Nexus release by Google/Samsung). And that, nearly 9 months later, is pretty much where the Sensation still stands. ICS 4.0.3, with no hope of any further updates, to Jellybean or even to ICS 4.0.4.

    By updates, I do not count the minor bugfix OTAs that came once or twice last summer/autumn. These fixes were something that should have been right in the original 4.0.3 release last April and can hardly be called “updates”.

    The Sensation’s later arriving siblings the Sensation XE and Sensation XL also appear to have been shafted in a similar manner. This is a pattern that HTC have followed for a few years now, down through their top models and variants, Desire & DHD, Sensation, XE, XL and will probably be happening to the One series phones as well shortly now that it is ~10 months old. Actually the One V already seems to have been abandoned judging from official announcements.

    This is not the kind of attitude that brings repeat custom from anyone but total HTC fanboys. I certainly won’t be considering HTC for my new phone this year, no matter what fancy features, 1080p etc. it brings, and I bet I am not alone.

    There are other points as well. But these two are for me the main reasons I’ve gone off HTC.

    • http://www.facebook.com/drs.mark.williams Mark Williams

      I have been an HTC loyal customer since the very beginning and after buying an HTC flagship (I own a Sensation XE November 2011) and within 6 months being ditched and getting no support, I decided to ditch HTC for good. Sense 3.6 in my opinion was a disaster on my Sensation XE, constant bugs, battery drains with no reason, random reboots for no reason, phone getting extremely HOT for no reason, and the list just goes on and on. I called customer support several times and after being talked to like if I was a total retard, I couldn’t take the disrespect and crap no longer and even though I still have a year to go with my contract, I bought myself a Samsung Galaxy Note II and finally I’m enjoying what my Sensation was suppose to do. So, No, I will never go back to HTC for the precise reasons you have stated above. No matter what phone they come out with, I won’t be going back. And for them to blame the marketing department for their bad sales is just an ostrich hiding it’s head in the sand. Their major problems are:

      1. Sense
      2. Bad customer support
      3. Ditching flagship phones within a year
      4. Too many devices
      5. Ditching external microSD slot

      I think a lot of loyal customers who have left HTC for all of the above reasons won’t be coming back. All my friends were diehard HTC customers and have all jumped because of the above.

      • http://twitter.com/danmcsw danmcsw

        Absolutely true.
        Also on the topic of Sense, I believe this overlay/skin causes a lot of compatibility problems with games and possibly certain apps as well.
        A buddy of mine has owned a One X since last April. He has had a lot of trouble with games which are listed as compatible by the Play Store failing to run on his phone.
        The same games have no problem on my (also Tegra3) Nexus 7. Lower clockspeed, same RAM, same GPU driving a higher res display, on paper at least should mean the Nexus has less chance of running it. But the Nexus doesn’t have Sense UI!
        I have encountered something similar, but even more pronounced with my (admittedly ageing) phones. Some games refuse to run at all on my HTC Sensation, but run fairly well on my SE Xperia arc. The Xperia is much weaker hardware than the Sensation, it has specs closer to those of the Desire S, so the issue here is not a lack of power. But the Xperia doesn’t have Sense UI! Sony’s launcher, though not stock Android, is much lighter on resources than Sense 3.6.

    • janek

      I can only second that. I had an HTC Desire HD that got stolen, replaced it with Sensation by my next phone will not be an HTC, that much is clear.

    • raivis

      Couldn’t say it better. I have sensation XE but my next phone will not be HTC’s one. I am very disappointed in HTC.

  • kraken

    actually the worst might just about to begin…. for htc

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000820908978 Влатко Стојанов

    Yes 2013 will be bad. Thanks to their stupid update policy. Former flagship, I repeat, flagship, the sensation, will not get JB, his opponent SGS2 will.
    Boycott HTC! Now sensation is abandoned, tomorrow will be x+, dna…

  • JoshuaB

    I personally love HTC products, and Sense has never been an issue for me, and Sense 4 was awesome.

    I have owned the following HTC devices; Diamond Touch, HD2 (in both Windows Mobile and Android), Inspire 4G, Desire HD (for her), Flyer Wifi, and OneX (international).

    I have used custom ROMs from well recognized XDA Developers on all of my devices due to the very slow rate at which Australia Telecomms companies roll out software updates and their preference for including lots of unnecessary bloatware.

    But with the death of my OneX (due to water damage that killed the screen controller) I moved across to a Samsung S3 because … drum roll …. it had a microSD slot … because wiping my documents off the One X was a nightmare, if not for Nortons Mobile security being able to remotely wipe the phone (supposedly, cant view the screen or connect via pc to check).

    Anyhow, one forgotten feature that I love on HTC products is USB hard disk mounting on PCs … the HTC devices mounts with a drive letter (e.g. E: like a USB stick) and not as a media device … this has a significant advantage for me as my phone is used as my always present USB Hard disk to synchronize My Documents and folders using file-comparison software. This just can’t be done with a media connecting devices such as my ex-Nexus generation 3. Fortunately I found a XDA developed program that enables this for my Samsung S3 to connect as a USB hard disk, but not as easily as the HTC devices natively do.

    When, comparing the Samsung S3 to the HTC One X, I would score the One X as having a better screen “liquid clear”, better headphone sound, better overnight battery life, and better control when playing my favourite mini-car game … oh and wifi hotspot is easier to enable.

    Where the S3 does win out was the easy of unlocking and the inclusion of a MicroSD slot.

    The removable battery ain’t a major concern for me, it was a nicety by the lack of one on the One X turned out to be a non event.

    Hence, would I go back to HTC at present … NO … unless the International Butterfly J / DNA is available in Australia via a recognized importer or local teleco.

    What I want from HTC to get me back is a Desire HD / Inspire 4G type device … i.e. with a Micro-SD slot, easy to unlock, and root because local telecos suck with their lack of speed of updates and their bloatware inclusions.

    Without a Micro-SD slot, forget it.

    Oh note to HTC … I upgrade on a 8 months to 12 months basis, and my old phone gets passed on to other family members, so on and so forth who coincidently buy HTC products after that … given that I am recognized as the resident techno in the family and among friends … Hence if HTC is good enough for me then it is good enough for them to use and recommend.

    P.S. I have also owned and passed on an Acer Iconia A500 wifi (10 inch), Toshiba Thrive wifi (7 inch), Asus Nexus 7 wifi … now have a Samsumg Note 10.1 wifi … plus Acer ultrabook, i7 desktop PC with Win8 64 bit (Stardock Start 8 installed) raided SDD hard disks and 32 GB ram and multiple monitors.

    You would be correct in saying that I am a real tech-head, but I have officially been a Technical Authority at work, so I have also be concerned with everyday non-tech-savy user-ability and consider Win8-tiles a nightmare for a business environment. …

    Hence, to me the lack of a Micro-SD is a big mistake and see its lack of inclusion as a covert way to enforce more data usage which is only in the telcos interest and not the end-users.

    HTC get it in your head, no Micro-SD included then stuff you I will go Samsung and encourage others to do the same.

  • Simon Li

    I agree. Fire the entire Sense team, save yourself the trouble of dealing with an extra layer of support.

    Then, cut down the amount of devices you sell. Possibly a low/mid-range and flagship model for each OS. Also, limit your release cycle to once a year or even two. Stagger your two models so there’s still at least one new device being released by your company every year.
    Third, offer more support for older devices. Nothing crazy, maybe 3 years . It isn’t asking too much, especially if you go to a slower release cycle.