Android Central

It’s no secret that 2012 hasn’t been kind to HTC. Despite releasing strong products as part of its HTC One line earlier in the year, the improvement in the HTC’s smartphones hasn’t been reflected in the company’s financial results. The Taiwanese manufacturer recently reported 45 percent year-on-year fall in revenues for July, and the second quarter picture was similarly grim.

As such, CEO Peter Chou recently emailed employees, HTC Chairwoman Cher Wang and the company’s board of directors calling for a change in HTC’s inner workings. The internal email, leaked to Bloomberg and confirmed as authentic by an HTC spokesperson, calls for staffers to kill the “bureaucracy” that “crept in without clear ownership.” Chou said, “We agreed to do something but we either didn’t do it or executed it loosely.”

In the Aug. 9 email, the HTC boss also bemoaned the fact that HTC’s sales were sliding, while the overall smartphone market was going. And in possible reference to Samsung and Apple, he added “our competitors can leverage their scale, brand awareness and big marketing budget to do things which HTC could not do. The fast growth from the last two years has slowed us down.”

Chou noted that HTC needed to “build on its culture, ‘committed’ employees and customer relationships,” according to Bloomberg. On products, he praised the HTC One X, saying it had “the industry’s best rating,” and revealing, without going into specifics, that more strong products were in the pipeline for late 2012 and early 2013.

The company will be likely hoping that its rumored refresh of the One X, in addition to its Windows Phone efforts and possibly an upcoming 5-inch phone will help to reverse its fortunes later this year.

Source: Bloomberg

 
There are 38 comments

dskwerl says:

As an avid fan of the EVO LTE, I have to say that I hope this plays out positively for HTC. I don't take the current financial situation as the demise of HTC, but I do hope to see them continue supporting their current crop of devices for a long time, as well as continue to put out even better products in the future.

Slippers says:

HTC can start off by not stifling development on all their new devices. Timely releases of kernel source along with not screwing over large market segments (AT&T One X) with unlockable bootloaders would be a good start.

hmmm says:

I think the carriers are responsible for the locked phones. Look at the GS3 on Verizon. But I agree with your statemented about the kernel sources 100%.

Nreeldeep says:

A great start would actually marketing their products so that the public can become aware of them, and then purchase them. Marketing 101. The non enthusiast public has no idea what a kernal or bootloader is. Those items are only important to the extremely small percentage of tech driven consumers such as yourself. HTC is not suffering in the marketplace and the wallet because of locked bootloaders. The masses have no idea exactly what an Evo LTE is. Unless HTC gets it together and starts marketing their products, thus stacking some cash, they may see themselves go the way ofo Palm.

JobiWan144 says:

These things are great, and HTC should do them. However, the vast majority of smartphone buyers don't know what kernel sources and bootloaders are, much less care what HTC does with them. "Normal people" care about what the phone looks like, how smooth and easy to use the interface is, what they see on TV, and what their friends have. It also matters what the guy at the carrier store says about the phones. And while they have great new phones on all 4 major networks, they go by different names and look different, a mistake Samsung did not make with their flagship this year. Someone needs to preach to them how important nationwide consistency is.

briankariu says:

Release kernel sources!!!!!

put ample storage (64g SD card or internal I don't care) and a battery worth a crap and they will blow Samsung away...

DWR_31 says:

I really hope this changes how they implement built-in features of Android that they seem to keep omitting from their final products. (USB Host mode and Bluetooth dun)

icebike says:

Host mode has already been hacked into some Roms, and it will probably come in Jelly Bean, if not the next update of ICS.

But Bluetooth DUN?

Bluetooth Tethering in HTC devices works unless you got some lame carrier crippled phone. But realistically, What's the use case for that? Wifi hotspot or USB tethering is just so much easier.

I've got Portable WIFI hotspot, USB Tethering and Bluetooth Tethering in the Tegra 3 HOX.

Mikey47 says:

How about they just start by admitting the multitasking issue on the One line and actually fix it! They have completely ignored their user base on this one. No matter how much I love my EVO 4G LTE, I don't think I will be getting another HTC device if it is hampered by shortcomings like this.

crxssi says:

+1

jbrandonf says:

They improved it with their latest update. Webpage don't reload after I switch away from them to answer a text message. Good enough for most people... Although I wish my game of NBA Jam would stay suspended or resume better but I think that's an android issue rather than a HOX issue.

interestingly, their decline started when they locked their bootloaders.

jbrandonf says:

Correlation doesn't equal causation.

cyanogen-man says:

Sigh HTC please for the love of GOD RELEASE KERNAL SOURCES TELL THE CARRIERS TO FUCK OFF AND DO WHAT YOU DO BEST MAKE KILLER PHONES THAT WE CAN HOLD ON TO BC IN THE US WE GOTTA KEEP THESE BAD BOYS FOR 2 YEARS IN CANADA 3 THE CARRIERS HAVE A HUGE STAKE IN THIS BS TELL THEM TO FUCK OFF!! Un locked boot loaders source codes removable batteries fuck the skinniest phone put a giant bafteryvin there make sense optional on initial set up download sense or make a total vanilla android we care about battery life updates and speed we want to multi task why in the hell would you make your phone like an iPhone?? No expandible memory non removable battery no true multi tasking wtf if I wanted that I would buy a 4s we want 8 web paves open visiting music while playing a game FUCK THE IDIOT MASSES POWER USER POWER USER POWER USER YOU WANT PREMIUM DEVICES?? Well power users are your fucking premium market wake up WAKE THE FUCK UP DAMN IT PEOPLE GET YOUR HEAD OUT YOUR ASS AND DO IT DAMNIT

hmmm says:

Hell yeah. Start releasing your damn kernel sources sooner as well. Waiting months for it sucks. Samsung does it right.

ICU812 says:

BATTERYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

JeffDenver says:

Kill Sense. Sense is the problem, not bureaucracy.

That will allow for faster updates and will not burden us with a skin we don't want. ICS and JB are already awesome. Stop trying to reinvent the wheel.

typhon62 says:

I 2nd that brother!

ICU812 says:

I'll be very honest and agree with you on this point. My first Android phone was the HTC Evo 4g on Sprint the day it came out in 2010. At the time Sense was new and seemed really neat and looked great. Fast forward to today and I can't say the same about Sense. I passed on the current Evo because of Sense. My next device will most definitely NOT be skinned for whatever reason. ICS and JB look great IMO and I can't wait till I upgrade my current 1st gen Evo to a Nexus.

hmmm says:

Although I think stock is best I have to say Sense is number two. It is better than the other skins and we all know none of the manufacturers are going to drop their skins even though whatever company did it would differentiate themselves from their competition and could push updates through really fast. They could even lay off a bunch of people who work on the skins which would save them money...so, not sure why none of the companies have gone that route yet.

icebike says:

Sense is NOT the problem.

Look, go stand around a phone store and watch people buy cell phones. Just keep your mouth shut and listen. Unless they are some self anointed Android purist they pick up the HOX and ooooh and aaaaah over sense. For Ma and Pa Polyester Sense beats stock in actual daily use every time.

You want faster updates, stop buying carrier phones. Put your money where your mouth is.

jbrandonf says:

Ah damn, we almost made it through a comment section without this coming up. Truth is people, regular people, don't care about stock android. They really don't. They don't care about updates either. It's about how the phone looks and feels to them in the store. I'm a power user and I like Sense. O like the matte tones, the ability to change the theme a bit and the slight stylishness that I think it gives android. Sure I would like updates sooner but that's a tradeoff that I'd have to deal with just being on android.

AT&T isn't just going to publish updates because they come from Google. You'll be waiting anyway.

So relax, and stop calling for the end of Sense, you're just wasting your time. I can't stand how as soon as one company struggles the android fanboys are so quick to attribute it to the custom interface. Samsung's is much uglier yet they're profiting at an incredible rate.

mech1164 says:

I for one, are rooting for HTC. I had an OG EVO and even with it's issues (Small Ram being one of them). It was one of the best solid phones I had. I was truly looking forward to the EvoLTE. Heck I even per ordered and waited.

In the end though I had to say good bye to it. The phone itself was a beast. The software drove me over the line though. If it wasn't doing more back flips than a Russian gymnast trying to get a signal. Or the a fore mentioned multitasking. I'd still be rocking it. I could have lived for awhile with the issues. That all ended when they out and out denied there was any issues with it. That and since it was perfect there was no need for a software update to fix the issues.

Now i'm on a GSM Gnex with JB on Tmo saving a bundle in the process. In the end all I can say is for HTC to GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER! I WANT TO GIVE YOU MY MONEY!

Gekko says:

Chou needs to take personal responsibility and resign. the buck stops with the CEO.

do you hear me Chou????????????????????

icebike says:

+1. Most insightful post all thread.

Anyone posting "Me Too" posts about kernel sources has NOT A SINGLE CLUE about what makes a company successful. Should they post sources? Sure. Will it affect their bottom line? Not one red cent.

If every rom hacker in the world flocked to HTC, the increase in sales would amount to a golf clap at a rock concert. Get over yourselves guys. Its not about you and your basement hacking. That doesn't sell phones.

The very things Chou is urging employees to do differently are contrary to the policies HE HIMSELF set up. The bureaucracy they labor under is of his creation.
The lack of vision is due to his imposed vision. The indecisiveness he bemoans is because of his own top down management style.

moises1204 says:

HTC can start by fixing the horrible customer service they provide, and listen to the customer!!oh and stop the spying on customer shit, with the we unlock your boot loader but we have to do it for you!! by away your warranty is voided so don't come to us later..

I just dumped the HTC One X from Att. Coming from a Nexus S I cannot live without the ability to load custom roms. They can start by releasing kernel sources and remove that horrible Sense stuff or at least give a choice between Sense and stock.

I now have a Galaxy Nexus.

Kaptain75329 says:

Really tired of the "Drop Sense" BS. This crap gets parroted in *every* HTC post and it's been used well past the expiration date. I swear rick rolling is aging better than this asinine talking point. I agree, stock ICS is nice and finally moves our lovable green robot into a long overdue realm of respectable.. nay.. a beautiful UI experience. But the idea that HTC would drop Sense -- which has long become the core element of their products -- is simply dead on arrival; Sense has cost too much time, money, and effort for HTC to simply abandon it. Sense is more than simply a skin and it isn't going anywhere. Nor does it need to: a lot of average users pick an HTC phone *because* of Sense.

Now, the company has some real problems, some of which have been mentioned already, but it's not hard to figure out that the following points taken together are damaging HTC:

- No proper marketing. Perhaps the most important issue facing the company: too many people don't know HTC exists until they see the product in a carrier store. That's not a good way to make an introduction. Because of this, a lot of folks don't know if there's a good track record or if the company will be around to support the product and keep it updated. People want quality with a strong company to stand behind the product. Preorder and sales numbers say most believe Samsung and Apple can do this, HTC cannot.

- No brand unity. HTC must find a way to stop producing these annoying custom models - this practice really is cutting into the bottom line. Custom models are marketing mess and needlessly confusing, not to mention increased costs in parts, testing, and support. On my level, it feels like bait and switch if I want a One S but have to make do with a DROID INCREDIBLE 4G LTE. We all know internally it's the same phone, but to John Doe, it's not the same and that costs sales; people want what they want. This pervades the other problem with carrier customizations: people feel like they're trapped into a one off edition without an upgrade path, and that lack of continuity bothers them. There's a reason the UI for AOL, Windows, and now iOS have stayed the same for years, and it's not for lack of vision or creativity. HTC has the product identity equivalent of this problem. Compare the naming schemas of Motorola, Samsung, and Apple to HTC, LG, and Sony. Motorola's current issues notwithstanding, it's no accident the three former brands are household names while the latter trio continue to languish in obscurity and borderline exile in the smartphone space.

- Battery life. Like it or not, it's an issue with Android and always has been, and shoppers in the market for a new phone are very aware of it. HTC needs to quit fitting phones with inadequate batteries and get serious on this.. the way they buckled down and solved their products' camera problems. They're kidding themselves if they think prospective customers are not paying attention to this spec. This will require continued vigilance in software power management, and upholding the company practice of selecting the very best hardware to use that power efficiently. And for the love of Google, bring back removable and extended batteries already. The advantages of having those choices are serious deal breakers if they‘re missing. HTC’s sales and feedback on their twitter/facebook pages back this up.

- Removable storage. Not much to say on this other than going the dropbox route in an era of dying unlimited data is a little like evolving your position on gay marriage at a time where nearly every state bans or repeals it every time the issue comes to a vote. (Even the guy I'm dating agrees there's something off about that kind of logic.) Beyond that, I don’t want crappy signal or a data outage to keep me away from my stuff. Get a clue HTC.

- Updates. They're expected, and the market has and will continue to punish those who fail to deliver. The Thunderbolt and the Rezound have been spectacular exercises in abject frustration of repeated broken promises met with silence. To some extent, the Evo and Desire have had too many parallels. I suspect the carriers are the problem here, but maybe it's time to offer these updates for download from the web. HTC could even direct the “check new” option to their own servers. That would put them ahead in the android game. Getting carrier buy in could be an uphill battle, but it needs to be addressed. Even if that means only downloading over Wi-Fi at home. Microsoft and Apple don't need carrier approval for updates.. it's time for someone in the Android world to lead the charge.

There are other issues to be sure, but these are customer facing and if HTC doesn't work to resolve these one way or the other, I fear the company will continue to decline. For my part, I choose the Thunderbolt and again the ReZound because of Sense, the hardware build quality, and because most of these points are not issues with these phones. (side note: rooting them has been fun, but I stay away from “senseless” ROMs. Every time I try one, I always come back home.) I want my next phone to be an HTC too, but that won't happen if the only way I can get one is to make the compromises that were not required with the 'Bolt and the ReZ. Stock Android on the Nexus and even Blur lite on the latest Motorola hardware are competitive enough to now make up for the loss of Sense, but I'm hoping I don't have to go there.

Fuzzypaws says:

+100,000. I came here to say just about all of these things and found this post already made for me.

Kaptain75329 says:

Thank you kindly for the compliment. I'm really hoping HTC can solve these issues because I don't think it's just me who objects to them strongly enough to check out the competition. The update scenario described in the post below is a serious concern and I've heard stories like that from a few people who have the same gripe. I can only imagine this is happening across much of the company's user base. HTC needs to unify their product identity with fewer and stronger, more consistent model lines, and standardize their hardware more so that software updates will require less effort. This will help ease the pressure on the company to spread it's resources too thin.

At the very least, the company needs to make a serious effort to get their marketing department engaged and on the ball. Anyone see Samsung's commercials during the Olympics this year? They had people running with Galaxy phones and using NFC to "pass the torch".. This is a feature of Android 4.0 called Beam and Samsung made it look like they were the only manufacturer to offer it. People walk into carrier stores asking about what they've seen on TV and don't bother looking to HTC or others because they think the sammy phones have more features for the price. That's the power of advertising in a nutshell. The carriers' retail stores couldn't possibly care less about any of this because their job is sales first. Nowhere near enough sales staff are going to point out where HTC outshines the competition; salesmen are not going to do marketing's job for them.

On the plus side, it's a good sign that HTC recognizes their business is not living up to it's potential. I'm interested to see what they do next.

jbrandonf says:

Agreed! Well written. I think I could put up with stock android but for some reason I really enjoy Sense.

Fuzi says:

I had been a loyal HTC customer for many years, beginning with my first smartphone, a T-Mobile DASH. But, my latest HTC phone will be my last unless they produce a new Nexus phone. I'm tired of HTC abandoning phones soon after they are released. Their promise of "no phone left behind" is bullsh*t. My phone was released 1 year ago, is still a powerful phone (dual-core, plenty of ram, beautiful 3.7" HD screen, amazing camera) but it has been abandoned to Gingerbread 2.3.4. Third-party ROMS with ICS just aren't viable as too many features either don't work or are just too unstable because HTC hasn't released any drivers.

Sorry, HTC. You pissed off this formerly loyal customer. I'm buying only Nexus products from now on, they're the only ones that don't get screwed.

jbrandonf says:

I don't get how people choose non-Nexus phones when their priority is getting updates.

tronthedon says:

ITT: a bunch of people that think they're CEO's or analysts and can turn around a multi-billion dollar company with a snap of a finger.

Removable battery and I would have been buying a HTC EVO LTE instead of the GSIII I bought, that is all they needed to do for me.

ap70 says:

Mr Cher Wang,

HTC ONE X was my last HTC.

ap70 says:

Mr Cher Wang,

Don't make announcements you can't follow (like updates).