Motorola redux? Google appears set to buy HTC

Enlarge / The all-glass back of the HTC U11. (credit: Ron Amadeo)

Evidence is mounting that Google is going to buy HTC. Bloomberg's Tim Culpan is reporting HTC shares will halt trading tomorrow pending a "major announcement" from the company. The speculation is that the struggling smartphone and VR headset company is going to be sold, and further speculation suggests the buyer is Google.

The "Google to buy HTC" rumors have been churning for some time. The local Taiwan media has been reporting whispers of talks between the two companies since the beginning of September, and one site, Apple Daily, is reporting that the sale is already a done deal.

So what would Google want with HTC? Any tech watchers' mind should immediately jump to the last time Google bought a failing Android OEM: its acquisition of Motorola. Along with a ton of patents, Google got a bunch of factories dedicated to producing smartphones and other products. It sold off the parts it didn't want, like the cable modem business, and then it set about whipping Motorola into shape. After clearing the 18-month product pipeline the old Motorola execs left in place, Motorola turned into one of the better Android OEMs out there, offering stock Android, fast updates, and a simple lineup of about three main phones across the pricing spectrum. Google eventually got rid of Motorola, though, probably as a result of negotiations with other Android OEMs.

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