May 23 AT 8:42 AM Dustin Earley 42 Comments

Internal turmoil spells bad news for a struggling HTC

htc-one-pool-630

Insider reports and public displays of displeasure from recently departed employees are pointing towards a growing rumor that HTC is coming apart at the seams. According to The Verge, all is not well at HTC. Peppered between supply issues, underwhelming sales of the One. a disastrous launch of the First and stiff competition from Samsung, employees are flocking en masse to greener pastures; or so they would have you believe.

Recent departures from the Taiwanese manufacturer include HTC’s Chief Product Officer, Kouji Kodera, vice president of global communications, Jason Gordon, global retail marketing manager, Rebecca Rowland, director of digital marketing, John Starkweathe, and product strategy manager, Eric Lin.

A source speaking with The Verge has said that, “Anyone who’s heard of them in Seattle doesn’t want to go work for them right now. They’re like T-Mobile two years ago. … They’re in utter freefall.” After leaving HTC, Eric Lin echoed words from The Verge’s source, taking to Twitter to say, “To all my friends still at HTC- just quit. Leave now. It’s tough to do, but you’ll be so much happier, I swear.”

With HTC’s future on the line with the One, this couldn’t come at a worse time. By all accounts, the HTC One is an absolutely great device. It certainly trumps the Samsung Galaxy S4 in terms of sheer build quality, but Samsung’s momentum seems to be unstoppable right now. Anyone with an appreciation for competition and options in Android today is undoubtedly rooting for HTC to pull through this — regardless of whether or not you buy their products.

Source: The Verge

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • redraider133

    I hope with strong sales for the one, it can help get HTC back to where they were a few years ago. The more competition and options the better!

    • Jon Garrett

      Id rather see Samsung buy HTC instead. they’d get awesome designs and build quality, patents plus agreements already made with apple.

  • uknowme

    This makes me sad. Mainly because competition breeds quality. That and I do love the hardware quality of HTC. I know some people have had issues but I have never had a even a squeak out of mine.

  • Brian Parkerson

    I was hoping to purchase the HTC One if it comes to Verizon but now I’m concerned that updates to 4.2.2 and 4.3 may be an issue. In what ways, directly and indirectly will this effect HTC and their customers?

    • MyMilan

      All I can say is I’ve had nothing but GOOD things to report about HTC and my new One. Just yesterday they sent me $25.00 credit for google play. The phone is incredible and I’m very happy with my decision to get the One instead of the galaxy S4. I am not the least bit worried. Most people want a good phone and HTC right now makes the best One (pun intended). I’ve received great customer service and this rumor from the verge does not concern me at all. I think samsung is now worried about HTC, and they probably have something to do with what the verge said and making mountains out of molehills.

      • Jimmy_Jo

        Samsung is worried about Apple. Not HTC. They shouldn’t even be considered a competitor. Look at the commercials. They’re competing against iPhones and iPads

        • Alexander drzfr3shboialex

          Really? Didn’t they pay random people to give the HTC One bad reviews?

          • PaulieG

            Really? Has the outcome of natural justice already occurred? No.. No it hasn’t.. Until then, (under my understanding of being innocent until proven guilty) that statement is no more than an unfounded allegation.

          • MyMilan

            Of course samsung is worried about Apple, every Android manufacture is, but samsung is also concerned about all of the momentum that HTC has picked up with the HTC One. This is especially true now since the HTC One is enterprise certified and ready. Yep, HTC’s latest flagship device has become the first HTCpro certified device in the U.S.

  • spintrex

    From Palm – S II (Sprint) I switched out from a company that had an original OS crumble beneath its feat. Going over to Samsung all seemed pretty great but decided to try the At&t network and get the HTC One X.

    I have to say I came to love the company, despite the delays in updates, just in their approach of being different from top dogs Samsung & Apple.

    It may seem that HTC may suffer the same fate as Palm and another great design will be left in the dust.

    • jillxz

      But out of the ashes , the Phoenix arises. So the turmoil within HTC could be for the good of this company.

  • Andrew Goodwin

    I agree, I have never liked the samsung phones, I hate the software overlay, and the build quality sucks, I just don’t get it.

  • Bob

    “Anyone with an appreciation for competition and options in Android today is undoubtedly rooting for HTC to pull through this – regardless of whether or not you buy their products.”

    It’s just too bad that companies don’t survive on hype alone. You can root for them all you want, but if the money isn’t coming in, HTC is going out.

  • Jimmy_Jo

    ” Anyone with an appreciation for competition and options in Android today is undoubtedly rooting for HTC to pull through this – regardless of whether or not you buy their products.”

    I understand this statement and -as a former EVO owner- I agree with it. But the problem is that since they’ve burned bridges by making false claims people are skeptical to give them a chance. They said they were going to mae less models and have more focus so they released the One S and X….. and XL, V, SV, VX, X+, EVO 4G LTE, Butterfly/DNA. They’re also notorius for not updated the firmware.

    It’s hard to be loyal to a company that shows no loyalty.

  • Clay

    I have been a long time HTC fan. My last three daily phones were HTC Evo, Evo 3D, and Evo 4G LTE. My biggest gripe was weird glitches, like the phones just randomly rebooting at inopportune times. Aside from that, I loved everything about the devices.

    This time, I bought the Samsung S4: I think it’s the better product, but I’m definitely still rooting for HTC. I’d also like to see Sony make a stronger Android contender. The Xperia Z looks really good as well, but I think the S4 is the current Android champion.

  • MyMilan

    All companies have employees which display their displeasure after they leave or get fired from that company. This is nothing new, and it certainly has nothing to do with HTC. If you want other companies like samsung to build a higher quality phone, then they will need competition from companies like HTC. Otherwise companies like samsung and nokia will just keep pushing out plastic garbage like they have, and spending money hyping these inferior products.

  • Aj

    Even though I love Samsung, I believe that HTC was/is a fine company. HTC was a doing a lot of things right but Samsung came along. The Desire was perfect, One X again was perfect, One X+ was perfect and One is also perfect but perfect is not what the consumer is looking for in today’s world. The last HTC phpne which sold very well (well enough to wow the customer) was One X. It was the flagship model at that time, had a great camera, quad core processor, sleek and light weight design but it was not enough. This was the time when Samsung just started to emerge as the android leader. The One X was a great device but people preferred the S3 for it had S Voice, was a faster quad core, light weight and had so many features related to Motion and Front Camera. The One X had great hardware but did not have many software features that S3 had. 6-8 Months after the release of One X, HTC showcased the One X+ which was basically improved hardware and perfected the One X. This disappointed many One X owners as most of other smartphone manufacturers had a 1 year refresh cycle and HTC did not follow this. Just some time after the One X+ hit the market, HTC showcased a 5 inch flagship, the Droid DNA aka Butterfly which had 1080p resolution. This disappointed the One X owners who had a 720p resolution. By this time, HTC had already lost a large sector of its consumers and Samsung was able to gain those consumers. Also, HTC released the DNA a year later the orignal Galaxy Note was released. It had been announced around the same time the Note 2 was announced. Even though the DNA had a better resolution than the Galaxy Note 2, some people decided to go for the Note 2 instead of DNA because the DNA lacked Note 2′s S Pen (stylus) features. Now in March, HTC unveiled the One and it is a great phone as HTC had finally learnt from its past mistakes and brought a brand new design along with great software features. But then again, some people didn’t like the new Blink Feed and the others wanted a water proof phone (like the Sony Xperia Z). There are some problems with the availability of the One which would of course lead to consumers not ordering or canceling their order. HTC till date does not have a great collaboration with the carriers. Carriers is the place where Samsung scores as it has a great rapo with the carriers. The unveiling of One was followed by the unveiling of the S4 which turns out to be a little faster than the One and people like it instead of the One. Alongside the One, the HTC First was showcased which was a disaster and it price was soon slashed to almost nothing and there are rumors that the First is gonna get discontinued. Let me ask you this, What is the difference between try and triumph? A little OOMPH, right!? HTC lacked that OOMPH factor. They followed disastrous refresh cycle, did not have a good collaboration with the carriers, had great hardware but lacked software, and had a tough competition. I think that if Samsung did sometjings wrong, or Samsung did not exist, HTC would definitely have been in a better position. A major chunk of possible customers of HTC is stolen by Samsung (and Samsung’s chunk is stolen by Apple *hated to say this*). HTC is a great company, I personally feel that it is a great competition for other companies. HTC still has time to maintain its position. I think that HTC is a company that can surely survive this and get back into the game. The position that HTC is facing today has been faced by great companies who were able to have a major comeback eg+Apple (15 years ago or even in 2007, nobody would have thought that Apple is gonna become as successful as it is today). It is gonna be a little hard from here but HTC is a tough company and it will surely have a major comeback and i actually hope so.

    • Paul

      Actually my biggest disappointment in HTC is three decisions they made recently:

      1. No MicroSD slot / expandable storage
      2. No keyboard models (My wife switched from an HTC MyTouch 4G Slide to a Samsung Captivate Glide and has been stuck with this old dual core for 2 years
      3. No removable battery (My wife has a charged battery in the dock by the bed, she rarely charges, she just ‘swaps’ batteries every day and a half; jump from 5% to 100% in 1 minute)

      These 3 decisions turned me off and I don’t consider the One X, One X+ or One “perfect” because they lack three features I love. #1 and #3 Samsung still supports, S2/S3/S4/Note/Note2; But the keyboard thing is beginning to irk me. Doesn’t HTC understand to be ‘different’ and stand out, they need to offer something unique? Look at how successful the Note line was, just because of how unique it was with the big screen and stylus. Hardware that set itself apart from everyone else. HTC has solid hardware, no doubt the One has a great build quality, if they made a HTC One that was ‘slightly thicker’ but with a slide out keyboard, I’d be all over that.

      • Aj

        Actually, I had completely forgotten about the SD Card extension available on the Galaxy flagship models and the removable battery. Thanks for pointing them out. You have reminded me of the days when I used to carry a BlackBerry and a Samsung Corby Pro (I don’t know if you have heard of Corby Pro but it was a flagship model of Samsung that was selling real hot in my country) . Those days were different, typing was much more fun. In fact,while reading my comment again (which i had written using my GN2), i realised that there were some typos in the comment. Typing on a screen is more like a job, it is always fun to write on a hardware keyboard. When the Corby Pro was launched, I thought that this is gonna be the future of cell phones… “It is such a great idea, using a touchscreen along with an actual keyboard;this is gonna blow every other company.” At that time, I *actually* wanted an iPhone, but did not get one only because it didn’t have a keyboard extension. Of course, later on I went and purchased an iPhone and got used to the touchscreen typing. And Apple had done a pretty good job at making a touchscreen keyboard. *Hate to say this* but I believe that Android on-screen keyboards (at least Samsung’s stock keyboard) is not bery good. But I like the option of changing the keyboard, changing its colour and theme. I found that Samsung’s standard keyboard is not very good and tried lots of free keyboards available on the Play Store. Some were good but my last stop was at SwiftKey. It is a great keyboard and I actually like it more than any other keyboard available on the Play Store. I would like to check out the stock Jelly Bean keyboard but sadly, it isn’t available on the Play Store (and Samsung doesn’t permit to use Stock Android; ifcource I can root but that is nit the point that I was trying to make). I actually lyked typing on a flip keyboard or on BlackBerry’s and wanted to check out the Bold 4 and 5 but didn’t because I am just too crazy about android.

      • w00x

        1. How do you fill 32/64GB of storage?
        2. When was the last time you saw a Keyboard model released? Motorola Droid 4. Go get that one, why are you using an S4 when it doesn’t have a keyboard as well?
        3. Can’t argue with that, but I miss it only when I want to completely turn off my phone. Pressing the power button for 5 seconds when the phone is looping on boot doesn’t work and just reboots it. Most customers will not have this problem.

        The Note/II is a chunky, clunky phone, which 80% of the users use so they have more screen real estate for their Facebook. No Stylus, no nothing. The Note is a business phone. Most of the people don’t use it for business.

        And I am not talking about USA here. Let’s not forget that the world is not only the US.

        If HTC goes out of business I am going with Motorola/Nexus or Sony, but will never go to Samsung. I hate those plastic toys. I hate them in my guts.

        • Aj

          What do you mean by “How do fill 32/64 GB of storage?”? I can not understand the point that you were trying to make. Check out the EA Games (Electronic Arts) and the Gameloft titles on the Play Store. Even 4 or 5 of those are enough to completely fill an android phones storage. They have intensive graphics, good game play, hard to not notice sound… And require a lot of space on a 16 GB android phone. What do you do for your other apps, pictures, documents, songs, videos and tonnes of other things that you have to store on your phone. That is where you need expandable memory. I have 32 GB inbuilt memory which i use only for apps and 32 GB sd card installed. All my songs, videos, documents, pics, and some other apps (which can be moved to sd card) are stored on my sd card. In short, all relevant things that I would need which are not related to games, are stored on my sd card. And there are tonnes of benefits of having a SD Card. It is easy to sync my Note 2 with my PC and Laptop. If due to some reason, my phone stops working, I’m in a soup. What do I do about the important stuff that I have on my phone (ie my pictures and documents)? How do I retrieve it back? That is another place where the expandable memory option is a life saver. Sure, there is Dropbox and Google Drive to save my pictures, songs and documents, but is it really as convenient as having expandable memory? No!
          Sorry, I don’t have any reply to the second point that you made but it was actually more fun to have a flip phone or phone with a hardware keyboard. Of course the phone would have become heavier and bulkier but typing would be fun. It is more like a chore to write on an onscreen keyboard. And there are still some other Android phones that had a keyboard eg-HTC Chacha, Samsung Galaxy Pro and BlackBerry is still making phones with a flip out keyboard along witha touchscreen eg the BlackBerry Torch and Torch 2. And then they have other BlackBerrys which are touchscreen and also have a hardware keyboard.
          Your third point is again very tough to understand; you can maybe write it once again so that I understand it more clearly. But yes, some of the points that you made were actually very interesting.

          Samsung was actually very daring to release a phablet. The orignal Note got bad critics but the numbers turned it all wrong. The phone was criticized by the media but the people actually appreciate Samsung’s approach. And after hearing about the magnitude of sales of the orignal Note, the media too changed its mind and started positive publicity. At that time, the GS2 was selling real hot. Which Android manufacturer able to stop Samsung and its GS2? It wasn’t HTC, it wasn’t Sony, it was Samsung itself. Only the Note was able to put a stop at hot selling GS2. Now an year later, the Galaxy Note 2 was announced. The new Note flagship. It introduced some revolutionary new features such as pop up play, multi-window, air view gestures, better S Pen integration. Did HTC Droid DNA have a stylus? Did it have a multi window technology? Did it have the ability to put resizeable and movable video window on the Home Screen? Did it have the revolutionary features of the S Pen? No. Nobody would buy a Note 2 for using Facebook or having extra screen space. The Note 2 is a BUSINESS DEVICE. Most people who carry a Note 2 are photographers, architects, magazine editors, columnists etc. And there are some students who use the Note 2 (because it serves a stylus functionality and they can write using the conventional style of using a pen/pencil). Within a year and a half, Samsung has changed the world. Now, media and news reporters are writing that the mighty APPLE is loosing a possible segment of the market. What has HTC done? Nothing revolutionary. And Note 2 is not at all a bulky or heavy device. It appears as if, but it isn’t. Samsung has devided the wieght of the device so uniformly that it seems like just like a light weight phone in hand. Check out the HTC One, a 4.7 inch phone which has such big bezel that it appears as big as a 5.5 inch phone (Galaxy Note 2). Media reporter or newspaper writer DON’T CARRY AN HTC ONE. And I was talking with the picture of the whole world, not just US. In fact, I don’t live in US, I have never been there. I can relate to their (American’s) culture only because I watch their TV shows and movies.

          And I can not force you to buy a Samsung phone. You will do what you like and I will do what I like. If you believe that if there was no HTC, you would go for a Motorola or Nexus, you please do. :-) I am not saying that HTC is not a good company or Motorola sucks or Sony is not good… I was just giving my opinion that Samsung is better. Everybody has a different opinion. You want your premium feel and looks, i want my software features and speed. But I can assure you that even though the Samsung Galaxys are made of plastic, they don’t feel so. :-)

    • nag

      Dear friend, u r very true. Hope Htc opens it’s eyes in learning from it’s mistakes n becomes liberal in bringing down t COST of it’s products ?

  • David

    “It certainly trumps the Samsung Galaxy S4 in terms of sheer build quality…”

    wrong, that’s a matter of opinion. I’d rather have a solidly build phone that’s made of plastic, that’s lighter in my pocket, has a removable battery, an available sd card should I feel I need it, and a bootloader that isn’t locked down. Sorry, htc dev doesn’t interest me in the least.

    “build quality” gets tossed around a lot in the blogosphere without anyone really thinking about what it really means, reminds me a lot of “fragmentation”

    • PaulieG

      Wow.. It’s like there is a clone of me out there on the internet! I was just about to say the exact same thing..

      It’s like so long as the case is metal and the aesthetics are pleasing, there is an overall assumption that the whole device is built better. Hey, the HTC could be held together with soldered wires on the inside, but so long as it looks better on the outside, that’s all that matters.

      The only way to make a statement on build quality would be to compare a pull apart video with some tangible metrics that establish why one build my be better than another. For example, soldered wires is an example of BAD build quality. These stupid statements of build quality based on a case just exhibit ignorance… And from a commentator in technology, it’s damn annoying.. I can’t help but bite the bait when I hear them…. I think I just hate listening to stupid people…

      • Jake

        Couldn’t agree more. People confuse build ‘design’ with build ‘quality’. HTC has nice build design, but their build quality sucks. I’ll stick with the crappy Samsung plastic phones, thank you very much.

  • Hom0ncruse

    final nail in the coffin for HTC

    • PaulieG

      I disagree. HTC have already proven to be far more competitive with Samsung with the the One. Consider the 3 million additional sales Samsung or Apple might have picked up if the One wasn’t as good as it was?

      Also, I think HTC needed to clean their house. For my mind, there have been a few ordinary design decisions that if done differently could have very well made the One the GS4′s equal.

      For my mind it’s currently not, but others already believe it is as good as. if not better than the GS4.. That’s all a matter of personal preference, but the point is, it’s a much more competitive landscape than prior showdowns.

      If HTC are already reaping more revenue with this model, then I can’t see how this could be considered a final nail.

  • Co1e

    And here comes Hom0ncruse……..

  • swazedahustla

    AHAHAHA@the title of this article. Without actually talking to anyone from HTC you drew your own conclusion from this? IMO HTC is taking authority from those people who are DIRECTLY responsible for the terrible marketing strategies, and design ideas that people have been compaining about for the last few years. And in turn they have handed the reigns over to people with new ideas, fresh marketing strategies and innovative spirits. These people leaving seem to be holding a grudge that HTC is not sticking with status quo. So IMO I say kudos to HTC for deciding to implement CHANGE, and not just stick with what hasn’t been working. Obviously if sales is an indicator, 5 million units so far in just a few months says change is working. And I have seen more commercials for the One in the past month and a half than I have for all HTC products the past 5 years. Change is def a good thing.

    But way to make a doom and glooom article for the dramatics.

  • Co1e

    The HTC One has never made it to T-Mo shelves in my area, which is pretty ridiculous. It’s hard to sell a phone you don’t have. I’m really hoping HTC can pull through this and hopefully get back in the Nexus game.

  • Paul

    Agreed. Competition is good. I’ve been using HTC since the Windows Mobile 6/6.5 days and early Android days. I’ve made the switch to Samsung but I don’t want to see anything happen to HTC, and competition is a good thing, we all win. I hope HTC pulls through. I hope LG starts making better phones to compete against Samsung, although I love my Samsung, I don’t want that company to be my ONLY option if I want Android, and I hope Motorola does SOMETHING, jeesh. I guess Sony’s out there also, I like them because of what they did for AOSP and even Cyanogenmod.

    • Dave Kratter

      LG already started making better phones that can compete with Samsung. The LG Optimus G is certainly better than the Samsung Galaxy S3, and the Optimus G Pro competes very well with the Galaxy S4.

  • Dave Kratter

    As always, it’s not about who builds the better mousetrap. It’s about who sells the most mousetraps. The HTC One is clearly better than the Samsung Galaxy S4, but Samsung knows how to sell the crap out of their products. Better marketing wins out every time over better product.

    • PaulieG

      The only thing that is clear is that you have your one eyed blinkers on..

  • APM

    IMO software is the biggest HTC’s problem. I hate HTC Sense – it feels heavy, bloated, doesnt look good, and it missing some nice features like for example toggles in notification bar. Also it is shame that their flagship (HTC One) still doesnt run Android 4.2.x. If HTC One would run stock Android or would have only minor revisions (like for example Xperia Z), I would buy it for sure.

  • swazedahustla

    Well in the past that was an issue. But bring yourself to May 2013, HTC Sense 5 is faster and smoother than any version of sense previously released. While the GS4 is full of lag primarily due to the enormous amount of bloat that samsung has put into it. I mean it takes up damn near half of the internal storage. So software seems to not be an issue for HTC anymore, and seems to be a real issue for samsung. (tables have turned)

    BTW, there is such a small difference between Android 4.1.2 and 4.2 that its not even noticable when using either. Unless a toggle quick settings, and new notification animations are deal breakers for you. Otherwise there is no difference.

  • jamal adam

    I think that there has been some bad management in HTC for a while and it has definitely shown but I also feel that the HTC One is a marvelous device and it’s showing that customers really like it. I believe The Verge also mention that Chou had been told of supply issues months in advance of the launch of the One and this speaks to the management problems. HTC has been shooting itself in the foot for so long that it feels as if they though it would make their problems go away. I really love HTC and think that they bring about a lot of innovation and creativity which I feel is really needed in the mobile space and this also leads to great competition and and overall gives us customers better choices. I hope that HTC can turn it around and become a leading force once again.

  • Jason

    I have a HTC One and I have quick toggles, just unlock it and install a ROM with the features that you want. There is nothing I can’t run on 4.1 that I can on 4.2, and I can do a lot more with Sense than any other launchers out there. At least, I’m referring to the practical functions as a phone. And as a camera, the only other camera that comes close to what the One can do today is the iPhone, and that is also beaten down by the One when it comes to night or indoor shots.

    • nag

      Hey Jason can u tell me which has better sound 1 or S4 ?????? Am very confused ?

  • donger

    So sad to see HTC like this. They’re like the Sony of smartphones.

  • MyMilan

    All companies have internal issues, even Apple had them a little while back. These things tend to sort themselves out. The really big news is that the HTC One is now enterprise ready, and they are directly going after the iPhone.

    http://www.zdnet.com/htc-one-lock-and-load-its-enterprise-ready-7000015823/?s_cid=e539&ttag=e539

    While this is great news I wonder shouldn’t HTC worry more about actually putting HTC One’s on the shelves of stores? A lot of galaxy 4 sales happened because HTC couldn’t build the One fast enough. HTC should be focusing more on this.

  • Ron Cormier

    Very much soured on HTC with my ever rebooting evo and and cheap speaker sound sensation. Those memories last forever.