Aug 22 AT 8:57 AM Nick Gray 22 Comments

Can HTC survive with Peter Chou at the helm?


Those who have been following HTC for a few years will easily recognize the name Peter Chou. As HTC’s CEO, Chou is known as a charismatic leader who mushed HTC to the forefront of the smartphone industry. Chou’s quick decision making and “obsessive eye for materials and hardware design” allowed HTC to be extremely nimble in the ever-evolving technology sector. This trait was exemplified when Chou sketched out plans for the launch of the highly acclaimed HTC Sensation XL (handset outline, price and launch date) only three months before the phone was announced – a feat which other manufacturers would need 18 months to complete.

While Peter Chou’s leadership is one of the reasons HTC dominated the smartphone market in the early days of Android, a new story from Reuters shows that Chou may be the one holding HTC back after the company lost significant market share over the past 18 months. Chou’s quick decisions helped greatly when there were no clear competitors to fight off. HTC was able to pump out a half dozen successful Android phones before Samsung, Sony, Motorola and LG even knew what was happening. But things changed. After multiple failures, HTC’s competition got a lot better and soon started to eat away at HTC’s dominating market share in the Android space.

With HTC expecting to post the company’s first loss at the end of Q3, dozens of former and current executives at HTC seem to agree that Peter Chou’s management style has led to the company’s decline. HTC may be able to bring a phone to market on a whim, but there appears to be no long-term strategy for HTC to stand up to its competitors and regain the market share that it has lost.

HTC’s new #change marketing campaign with Robert Downey Jr. may be the first step in the right direction. Rather than pushing a product, HTC is currently focused on increasing brand recognition. Something that’s desperately needed; more consumers can easily name off a few Galaxy phones, but have no idea that HTC is a smartphone manufacturer. Those who have seen HTC’s new ad are torn. Robert Downey, Jr. has a way of making the ads feel important, even though no one really gets what the ads are about.

Peter Chou may not be a visionary like Steve Jobs, but his charisma puts him head and shoulders above other CEOs in the mobile industry. Unfortunately, charisma isn’t enough to pull HTC back from the brink of failure. If HTC wants to succeed, Peter Chou needs to embrace the company’s #change mantra himself… or find someone else who can chart a path that will lead the company to new heights.

If you had the opportunity to implement one change at HTC, what would it be?

Source: Reuters

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. Nick joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • surethom

    There are 2 things HTC can do to make my next phone a HTC.

    1. Keep 4.7″/4.8″ size screen flagship phone with Smaller bezels
    2. 6 or 8 megapixel Ultrapixel camera, 4 megapixel is just too small when zooming in on photo, (xenon flash would also help a lot)

    I love the build quality of HTC, but there brand is not advertised enough hopefully the new adds will help, hope they are better than the current one though.

    • epps720

      I agree and especially agree that their main issue is lack of advertising and timing. This huge deal with Robert Downey Jr. should have come out before the One and used to promote the One. The One is an excellent phone that was severly under marketed.

      • Droid Sam

        Or, it could be perfect timing. The HTC One is probably the second best selling Android phone right now (even though it’s probably way behind the SGS4). With the Verizon HTC One finally here, HTC can capitalize on the fact that the phone is available on six carriers in the US and get the most bang for their buck. While The Verizon HTC one launch is late, HTC now has the opportunity to sell the phone to 100 million new customers – something that should help the HTC One gain additional momentum.

        • epps720

          But the issue is while they would have only really been competing against the S4 earlier this summer now their advertising will be against the Samsung and all their phones, the LG G2, the Droid line of phones, the Moto X and the new iphone that gets announce soon.

    • Hom0ncruse

      final nail in the coffin for HTC.

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  • Nick Gray

    I’m going to follow surethom’s lead and propose two changes as well:

    1. Merge the Desire and One family to create a single line of phones (5 phones max)
    2. Create a true HTC One mini in 2014 which is significantly smaller than the One but with all of the same specs (excluding display of course).

    I think the marketing campaign with RDJ will help establish HTC’s brand more, but HTC needs to focus on unifying its brand at the same time.

  • Droid Sam

    I love BoomSound, but HTC needs to find a way to make their phones smaller. Some engineering work needs to be done to reduce the size of the speakers without looking audio quality. The moto X is not a great phone, but it feels amazing in the hands because moto managed to make the phone as small as possible. If HTC can do the same thing and offer their amazing features i na smaller package, people will notice.

  • pjamies

    Also, a big thing for me is timely OS updates (at least 1 full version, so 4.0 to 5.0 or 4.2 to 5.2). I know that they do not make any money of OS updates, but maybe they should start charging for them. Say a small amount $5.00 or so ..
    I would be so kool with that.. as I have a Sam Note 1 and am stuck on ICS!

    Funny, with all of the blogs that I read, no one has suggested paying of OS updates .. Hmmmm


      You want us to pay them for something that Google gave them for free? No way!

      • Nick Gray

        The idea isn’t half bad. Yes, they are getting it from Google for free, but they need to do a lot of work to get it up and running on their phones. ROM developers ask for donations all the time and no one seems to have issues with that.

        The math for user financed ROM updates may actually make sense. The reason many phones stop getting updates is because the chip manufacturer (Qualcomm in most cases) stops supporting the chip and no longer develops the proper drivers that work with the latest version of Android. If all OEMs charged $5 for updates after 18 months and handed some of that cash down the line to Qualcomm, the chips would most likely be supported for a longer period.


          The idea is bad in general because many of them have access to the recent version before they released the device (see HTC One with 4.1.2 instead of 4.2). These devices should have gotten a quick update to 4.2. If you set a precedent like that, then they will want to charge for maintenance updates soon after. We already pay up to $600 dollars for these phones whether straight money or through hidden fees in contracts, I think we deserve an updated for our money.

          We are not purchasing any products from the Rom developers. They do this on their own free time to help us so I don’t mind donating. However, I already “donated”, or purchased a product from the OEMs and would appreciate 1 update within a year.

          As far as devices 18 months or older, I totally take a different stance. I don’t think realistically we can expect an update. At that point you are one full generation behind, maybe two. It would be a great deal to pay $5 for an update.

    • Noel

      Yes they have….one of the sites not sure if it was Pocketnow Phonedog or…. wrote an article on that very topic. I buy mostly Nexus devices but if I had another flagship device and it came down to it, I will pay $5><$10 for a major update after the OEM has updated the device thru 3 major update cycles.

  • mvndaai

    I think HTC just needs to do better advertising. I have enjoyed my OneX, but the name is dumb and confusing because now the One is better. They need to make up their mind on a name then just be more clever in advertising than Samsung.

    I hate Touchwiz. I find Sense pretty nice. I still prefer default android, but Samsung just has the ugliest interface ever and people should be able to recognize that.

  • Rbaggio

    SD card is a must for me.

  • droidguyuk

    Have a sense off switch to stock android,bigger battery’s and make updates faster. Plus have a multitasking button why does htc feel the need to alter things like that do they think they are more popular than android.

  • Paul Atreides

    I’ve been wanting Chou gone since the launch of the One X. There is no clear path to success for HTC at the moment. They haven’t done anything game changing since the OG EVO.

    1. Say bye-bye Chou
    2. Say your prayers
    3. Do a high-end device every 2 quarters(phone then phablet)
    4. Release a bad-ass mid-range like everyone thought Motorola was going to do.
    5. Make a kid-friendly parent controllable phone around the holiday season.

  • Bigcohunaburger

    What kind of question is that? HTC Is on the verge of extinction. They better get rid of that dude.

  • Jake Weinstein

    HTC’s only recent bad flagships were the Snapdragon 8660s (Sensation, Amaze, Evo 3D, etc.), which were much slower and not as good as the GS2. Since then (the One and One X), I think their products have been just as good if not better than their competitors. The One is considered by many to be the best phone released so far this year. I can’t really consider that a failure on the CEOs part. What they do need to change is their marketing strategy. Sales=marketing. Apple and Samsung’s products are not better than HTC’s, but people believe what the TV tells them. Apple and Samsung say their stuff is revolutionary, people believe it. The only recent HTC commercials I’ve seen (besides on this blog) are the BoomSound commercials, which certainly make sense, but are not as effective as Samsung’s and HTC’s. Perhaps they need some gimmicky features such as Siri, S-Voice, S-whatever.

  • donger


  • Noel

    I like Peter Chou…but sometimes you need a change at the top to get things going again and ppl to feel more motivated. No doubt HTC makes some kick ass devices and can still pull themselves out of this slump with Peter Chou at the helm, but they have to do a few things.
    1) This is marketing campaign should have been started months ago just as the HTC One was hitting carriers.
    2) Don’t give any edge in terms of specs to Samsung..flagship devices with bigger removable batteries and SD card slots. A lot of people skipped very good HTC devices and picked up the Galaxy S3/S4 due to the omission of these specs.
    3)Bold and promising move with the Ultra pixels camera technology but time to go to 8+ Ultra pixel if feasible.
    Make a very compact 5” screen device under 135mm tall.
    4) About time to start using onscreen buttons…that space used by the capacitive buttons could be used for more screen space or further shrink the device by a few mm.
    If Modaco can make the Modaco switch for pure Android and Sense UI Sure HTC can make a dual boot device. Get it done…long overdue.

  • Colin MacKenzie

    Improvements to HTC – SD cards and removable battery. Better names, HTC One X, WTF. Great software version names so better phone names please !