HTC has been a driving staple in the virtual reality world with the HTC Vivr, and a fierce competitor to the Facebook owned Oculus Rift. Onced ranked among the world’s top smartphone makers HTC has found it hard to compete with Samsung and Apple the 2 top selling cell phone makers in the world. Currently HTC is exploring options that could range from just separating its virtual reality business to a full sale of the company.
Talks are still private as to what HTC would ultimately do but they have been talking with companies such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google on the fate of the HTC Vive. A full sale of HTC, which has businesses ranging from VR to handset manufacturing, is less likely because it isn’t an obvious fit for a single acquirer.
Shares of HTC rose 4.7 percent in Taipei on Friday to the highest close in more that two weeks, giving the company a $1.9 billion market value. The company has shed about 75 percent of its value over the past five years as its smartphone market share dipped below 2 percent.
The Taoyuan City-based firm has been attempting to refocus its growth prospects on the high-end VR business, with shipments of the Vive headset totaling more than 190,000 units in the first quarter of 2017, according to research firm IDC.
HTC cut the price of the Vive by $200 earlier this week to $599, in an effort to expand product sales and its user base, which is more important now than earnings, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst David Dai.
The company is also trying to revive its smartphone unit with its latest flagship U11 model and a contract manufacturing deal to assemble Google’s Pixel handset.
A transaction with a Silicon Valley firm like Google would mark a face-saving moment for Cher Wang, HTC’s co-founder and largest shareholder, who took over as chief executive officer of the the manufacturer in 2015. Wang has been unable to stem the losses in market share since returning to the company in a full-time capacity. The daughter of a petrochemical billionaire, Wang was Taiwan’s richest woman until HTC’s stock tanked.
HTC, founded in 1997, began as a contract manufacturer. In 2002, it won a deal with Microsoft Corp. to make Windows-based phones and quickly became one of the top producers globally. It also made the first Android phone in 2008.
Vive made HTC relevant again and now that the virtual reality world is starting to roll on we will have to wait to see what is in store for the vr headset we call HTC Vive.