HTC’s phones get a lot of love from the media, but the company has recently warned that they’re going to have their first quarterly loss in their corporate history. Why? According to Reuters, it’s all Peter Chou’s fault. The publication interviewed 12 current and former senior level HTC employees, and they all pretty much said the same thing. Peter. Peter. Peter.
What’s he doing wrong? Apparently Chou doesn’t trust his executives. He’ll often override the decisions they’ve made, which leaves the executives wondering why they’ve even been put in power. Another common complaint is the company’s lack of long term thinking. HTC’s products seem to be planned and shipped in the span of less than half a year, while other companies have clearly defined roadmaps that often stretch out a year or two.
Is Peter trying to be Steve Jobs? Reuters doesn’t explicitly say that, but that’s the vibe I’m getting. Problem is Apple is cool, while HTC is just another Android OEM. Put another way, if HTC disappeared tomorrow, would the world notice? Likely not. Samsung on the other hand, they can’t go away because they make the chips and screens that everyone else depends on to make their own respective devices.
And that’s what I personally feel is HTC’s problem. In today’s smartphone industry, if you want to be a big player, you have to be at least somewhat vertical. Samsung makes components. LG makes components. Sony makes components. What exactly does HTC do other than buy parts from everyone, slap them together in a pretty metal body, and then bring the total package to life with software from Google that’s been given a slightly different paint-job?