Google has bought part of HTC’s mobile phone division for $1.1bn, a return to hardware ownership for the company.The deal will see 2,000 HTC staff join the US internet giant and underlines Google’s broadening ambitions in smartphone production.
Google develops the Android operating system used in more than 80pc of the world’s smartphones but largely relies on manufacturers like Samsung, Huawei and HTC itself to make and sell its phones, unlike Apple, which controls the design and development of both software and hardware.
Last year it released the first Google-branded phone, the Pixel, which is manufactured by HTC, and is gearing up to release a new model next month, but having thousands of staff join the company will expand the venture. The Pixel has been well received but only produced in small quantities.
Of the 2,000 staff moving from HTC, roughly about a fifth of its workforce, many are already working on the Pixel. Google is also acquiring a licence for HTC intellectual property.
The Taiwanese group said it would continue to produce its own phones, including a new flagship device, as well as continuing its Vive virtual reality headset and investing in other technologies.