Not so brilliant after all.
HTC has this year been in the news for positive (mostly) and at times negative things. Negatives like delays in factory production of its flagship HTC One and a huge number of executives opting to resign rather than clutch at a “sinking” ship only later to be arraigned in court for violation of certain secrecy terms.
The brilliant design of HTC One and a more sensible Sense UI (see what I did there?) have helped those few negatives stay in the shadows and keep Peter Chou (the CEO) and others at peace, for a while. Now it seems not even the beauty of the HTC One will hold back these news: HTC is bleeding money really bad and their future doesn’t look good.
HTC announced a couple of hours ago that it had made its first quarterly loss since it became a public company way back in 2002. And what’s the loss? $101 million in Q3 (after tax). That may not be a lot of money compared to what Blackberry bled off in Q2 but for a company valued at slightly over $3 billion, that is huge.
There may be a few reasons for such a setback and huge loss in the company’s entire history. Management and insider issues continue to rock the company and if you are a keen follower of matters to do with HTC then you know the turmoil on the inside is almost reaching fever pitch. Then there’s their little marketing budget.
Making gorgeous devices has never been enough. Getting consumers to know about them is also important. Its main rivals Apple and Samsung outspend it in terms of marketing. We all know how good Apple’s corporate marketing machine is. Then on the other hand Samsung has a marketing budget that is almost four times the market valuation of HTC as a company. They may be cash strapped but they did not even try.
Take a walk in the streets of Nairobi and ask random people about Samsung’s flagship devices like the Galaxy S4. They may not know much but they at least know it exists, where to find one and that it is expensive too. Ask the same people about the HTC One. In the first place many would have a problem knowing what HTC is leave alone that there is a device called HTC One. Need I add more?
Anyway I hope the weak Q3 financials make HTC realize how it needs to get back on track. The Galaxy S4 had a strong rival in the HTC One and we sure need to have HTC around for as long as possible since they know how to get devices right. Let’s hope they get out of this soon. We can’t see Nokia sold off, Blackberry almost going under and now this.