HTC “needs to do more”, establishes new “Emerging Devices” unit

July 22, 2013
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The troubled Taiwanese phone maker continues to reorganize itself, with a new division focused on innovative products and yet another executive shuffle.

HTC CEO Peter Chou Credit: HTC

Even with a successful One and a promising family of derived products in the pipeline, HTC isn’t out of the woods, as the latest financial results have indicated. The company recorded a massive 83 percent drop in profits year-over-year in the last quarter, and pundits believe that next quarter will be even more punishing for the one time darling of the smartphone industry.

To survive its hardest year yet, HTC needs exceptional measures, and CEO Peter Chou knows it. The need for a company-wide shakeup may explain the abrupt departure of several prominent executives since the beginning of the year, including luminaries like Chief Product Officer Kouji Koudera.

Now Chou turned his sights to a crucial market for HTC – North America. The company’s President of Global Sales, Jason Mackenzie will become the new head of HTC North America, according to an email obtained by the Wall Street Journal. Mackenzie is familiar with the position – he served as a president of the unit before taking over global sales.

Jason Mackenzie will be taking the seat of the current president of the North American unit, Mike Woodward, who will be moving on to run a newly established “Emerging Devices” unit, focused on “innovative new HTC products and global distribution strategies”. Whatever emerging devices means for HTC is just speculation, but wearable devices and tablets are two areas where the Taiwanese company could consider making a move, before it’s too late.

It’s important to observe Peter Chou’s muted acknowledgement that the One hasn’t been, by any measure, enough for HTC to become again the force it once was in the smartphone industry:

But as you know and would expect, we also need to do more. With the success of the One, we have many new opportunities both to expand current sales as well as to enter new distribution channels with new business models.
Peter Chou, HTC

HTC just launched the One Mini, a slightly more compact One lookalike, and is rumored to prepare the One Max, its first supersized phone, for early fall. It remains to be seen what emerging devices will the new division come up with, but one thing is for sure – HTC needs to fundamentally change something, if it wants to exist as an independent company a year from now. Already, some voices ask for HTC to sell itself, with rivals from China, like Huawei, looking like the ideal suitors.

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