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Product chief at HTC reportedly leaves company

HTC

According to The Verge, HTC Chief Product Officer Kouji Kodera has departed on separate ways from the manufacturer. The struggling company is experiencing a number of high-ranking departures, including the VP of Global Communications, who announced he would be exiting last week. So what's going on at HTC?

Hold on for a minute, we're not quite finished with the departures yet. The Windows Phone manufacturer also lost product strategy manager Eric Lin, and The Verge also reports that global retail marketing manager Rebecca Rowland and director of digital marketing John Starkweather have also left. Lin advised friends who are still at HTC to leave the company now and added they would be much happier distanced from HTC.

We can easily point to the HTC First, the "Facebook Phone". The device has struggled since launch, but the Android-powered HTC One is picking up the slack, with HTC North Asia president Jack Tong stating production capacity is set to double this month to keep up with strong demand. That said, what's happening with the company's family of Windows Phones? Well, not a lot really. That could also be part of the issue.

As well as Android, HTC has also banked on Windows Phone and has been a partner with Microsoft since the old Windows Mobile days. The company has launched numerous products on Microsoft's latest mobile platform, but in between said hardware announcements, the company is fairly silent on the Windows Phone front. Placing all its eggs in the overcrowded Android basket with Samsung to fight off is certainly hurting the company.

We're not suggesting Windows Phone is the answer for HTC's current situation, but check out how Nokia has turned it around thus far. For the time being, matters will likely worsen for poor HTC, but we'll look to the future to see how the company will face its challenges.

Source: The Verge, via: Android Central

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Product chief at HTC reportedly leaves company

118 Comments

Well, they are really working hard for their loyal fan base. Other OEMs could have done the same. Instead of standing out, they ran with the band wagon and did not really try to establish themselves with wp8.

Similar to windows 8-, it will continue to grow and some developers will be late to the party. Android may have a lot of market share, but you are in sea of devices. Nokia did a smart move by moving to a new and fresh os that they did not have to pay for, in terms of internal development like meego and Symbian. They could focus on adding exclusive features, hardware, fan base, and growth. They did not sit back and wait for Microsoft or anyone else. They swam upstream. HTC was in the Sam starting position but wadded until resources were depleted...

On another note, android and IOS is really beginning to look dated. People are really starting to take notice to windows. Nokia will continue to make bold moves and if Microsoft can continue to build up the OS, windows will grow.

I used to really enjoy HTC in the windows mobile days and hope they can survive.

Soon it will be the company that was. To bad, the WP8 Phones they released (8X and 8S) are the sleekest looking windows phones yet! (Aside from 925 of course!)

Their problem was that every goddamn phone looked the same (apart from few models). Their naming strategy was weird and specs were the same. Facebook phone was a failure and HTC One looks good, but ultimately not worth the hype. I tested one at AT&T and their so called revolutionary speaker location was plain bad. The phone sounded horrible, some of my very old phones sound better.

I was also disappointed with the sound from the speakers. Maybe didn't have the right settings applied but was disappointed

All the reviews I've read say the speakers are the best smartphone speakers out there. What did you test the speakers with (type of file, file location)?

Um how doesn't it. They make android and windows phones. They put their shining stars in the android camp and still can't sell. This has 90% to do with android

This has to do with competition and Samsung taking over the market. They been making phones for Windows and where has it gotten. You have to be idiot if you didn't make an Android phone. What other OS was they suppose to make. They were already down a slope before even reaching Android market. They don't support their products, they over saturated with to many of the same product, their marketing went to shit, they didn't support and pay the developers to keep them happy, and there's no incentive left to want to keep the company afloat. If Android is such an issue why is it that LG is now the thriving Pantech has raised their stakes, Moto is about to bounce back with Google, and Samsung has rocketed to the top? Nokia was the king damn neat dropped off the face of the planet and slowly and climbing back up. The Android bashing on here is so damn ignorant.

Down a slope before reaching Android? Rather hypocritical to call out ignorance when you're willing to fabricate ideas to suit your own purposes.

You do know HTC sales slipped with the introduction of the iPhone right? The drop of WM and needing Android to get back up. The biggest phone HTC sold was the G1 Evo and One X.

You can't fabricate truth

"High Tech Computer Corp. (TAIEX: 2498) today announced its total revenues for February 2007 were NT$ 6,599 million, a decrease of 15.58% YoY, while total revenues from January to February 2007 were NT$ 15,005 million, a decrease of 3.36% YoY. The reasons for February 2007 lower revenues were lower sales momentum in the US region, low market visibility and decreased work hours in February (Chinese New Year). However, the 1Q07 revenue will close to the sales revenues of Q106 and the 1Q07 net profit margin before tax will maintain the same level of the same period of last year."

I'm done.

So a random cherry picked quarter which does not represent the WM -> Android transition where HTC saw a drop in revenue and nothing else somehow proves your narrative? Read back on what you said. You clearly implied that HTC has been going down and down, and Android was just not able to keep it alive. That's rubbish. The Android ecosystem embraced HTC, then spat it out once Samsung's marketing kicked in. Android is not some miracle platform and it never has been.

Android wasn't enough to keep them alive, obviously. When you look at sales from 2008 to present, they had only a couple if gross sales and that was only up to about 2011 before heading back down on slope. What I should had implied is that Android help regain sales after they started to decline with WM. That's fact there's nothing that proves otherwise. They then too had poor marketing strategy and poor planning (Sounds familiar) to stay up using WM. They had their hand in WP but MS executed poorly. They had to switch to Android to keep afloat as a company the same way Nokia is doing now. HTC has been through 3 different OS now and nothing has helped to keep the company afloat. There needs to be drastic internal changes within, not ecosystem. If WM, WP and Android did nothing for the company its not an OS problem. Si once again, this has nothing to do with Android.

Had HTC put their effort into windows phone the way they did back in the windows mobile days, I don't think they would be having these problems. It goes by more than just making a good UNIQUE handset. it goes by winning over your customers. We as customers aren't dumb. When you throw us a second-rate or copy HTC design 6 months after you just came out with your flagship for a competing operating system, it stings an resonate with the customer. That's a big reason why this generation (at least with windows phone) many people eagerly chose NOkia over HTC. Image is everything.
 
As far as sales, they should have done what Samsung did and spread their best offering to all carriers if they wanted to stay nestled firmly within Android world. Instead they flooded the market with confusing phones and names and never seemed to habe any real focused direction (compared to samsung and their Galaxy series). Now if they were as gracious to windows phone, I don't think we would be having this conversation

I wont disagree with this cause HTC did alot of poor planning and execution and losing trust with customer, me being one after the One X and they releasing the One X+ later and me never having support for my One X. But thinking WP could had helped them is a speculative suggestion because WP as now is still having a struggle and thankfully with Nokia its helping. The way HTC has been executing, and poor planning, wouldn't had promised anything. You have to remember the whole reason of this discussion is because of problem within the company itself. Executives don't just up and quit because they necessarily want to. There is alot of internal issue as company in whole that is allowing this company to crumble.

Having worked at a company with a lot of internal strife myself, which led to many people leaving to find greener pastures... I am inclined to believe that internal issues do indeed play a big part in the decline of HTC

And for the record I want and hope HTC don't fall. They are a much needed company and a dwindling mobile mfr. Samsung just bought stakes in Pantech, Nokia trying to get a grasp, LG Samsung and Apple are at the top, and Google has full control of Moto. Looking at options none are going to get the WP platform going except Nokia and alot of that has to do with the stakes they have in each company. I like Android, but I don't want to see an Android ruled mobile ecosystem. HTC is very much needed but have alot of internal cleaning to do. I wish them luck and I apologize to anyone if my comments come to aggressive. I get passionate in debates.

Just because you can't see beyond your own reasoning doesn't mean others are bashing. I was gonna throw facts and logic your way but looks like AngryNil handled it for me. Nobody is bashing Android. HTC put the majority of their eggs in Android's basket, and ended up short. Not saying Android is the bad guy (they sure helped Sammy), but for HTC it surely is a big culprit in the decline of a once innovative and successful company

I never said they didn't. I simply state they had MOST of their eggs in Android. And I should probably mention, their most concerted and important eggs. The 8X was a great and unique phone. But way too late.

The Verge article actually goes into some detail regarding the various reasons that contributed to HTC's situation. It's a combination of several things, including - supply issues, poor strategy, marketing, and even bad luck!

Dude .. Read The Verge
It's all about Android .. They spent hell lot of money in R&D of HTC One series and Sense UI

And y'all are the same people bashing the Verge. Lol hypocrites. Once again this has nothing to do with Android. When they released the 8X they spent a huge amount of R&D ( oh did you also know with all the cutback their R&D was cut by 15%?). They pushed hard marketing and other countries and it got them nowhere. It goes back to the blunt reality that HTC is a dead company no matter the focus of OS. Its not the "Android" effect its a Company's effect. The HTC Onr is simply their last resort. The all out or nothing phone. With money, R&D and poor sales dropping what else are they suppose to focus on. It could had a WP8 phone and it wouldn't had help this company. I mean they made a HTC first. Like really? What dumb ass let them think this would be worth R&D about. Thank goodness it wasn't a WP First.

Dude I see more commercials about HTC accessories then I do their phones. The only 8X commercial i saw was the Microsoft/Gwen Stefani one and that one barley mentions the device. HTC has dropped the ball big time but their problem has always been quality and durability of their phones. Many people I speak to have nothing good to say about HTC.

And the Cam Newton commercials. Actually when WP8 came out it seemed like MS was doing more to put the 8X front and center than any other device.
If I remember right there were a fair amount of, "OMG MS is trying to kill off Nokia" tears shed here because people weren't seeing Lumia's in commercials.

Uhh, actually it does. Beyond that, HTC only has ONE product... smartphones. No feature phones, flip phones, and no other electronic products like Samsung, Sony, LG, etc. So yeah literally almost all their eggs are in the android basket.
 

HTC also thought about buying Palm OS or making their own back in 2010. Probably the best decision they made not to.

Really? I'd have thought they'd have a real winner with their hardware + webOS.

Anyway, I dont know why people are saying they shouldn't have put all their eggs in the Android basket. WP was never a good alternative, they would have sunk even worse than Nokia did. Android was their best chance, and it was their fault that they missed it. Not Android, not the OS. I hope they stay around, the One is an amazing device and if they can't turn things around with a device like that then sadly I don't see them ever doing so.

"Wp was never a good alternative, they would have sunk even worse than Nokia did" You have no clue about what you are talking about. Nokia was sinking way before adopting wp, and wp is saving the company now by providing a great alternative to android and ios. HTC would be in a much better position had they actually had any proper support for WP. Don't get me wrong It is pretty clear that HTC's problem is far worse than just having chosen the wrong OS. Until they fix their internal issues and give customers and developers proper support they will continue to dwindle, and unfortunately I think It might be too late for HTC. A shame since It's my second favorite after Nokia (I owned an HD7 and still own a titan as a secondary phone).

"Android was their best chance..." REALLY? How can Android be their best chance if it can't save them now that they are sinking! Your statement has one big hole in it - and that big hole is that Android is not saving them. If Android is the best chance, it should be saving Motorola and Sony too - but it's not.

And their product testing was terrible, the skin peels on the 8X so easily and they said it was "normal" wear. Stupid excuse

Same thing happened to me, I even called the customer support line and they told me "our best advice is to put a case on your phone". -_-

That's what they told me too. And they won't give me new one while I send this defective 8x to them so I will be phoneless for about a week before they either fix or not fix the device which means I lose.... And they are gona take the money for taking a look at the device. And my 8x has a crack now from the speaker to the bottom of the phone.

HTC is doomed. They launch great devices but with zero after sales updates which leaves HTC users grinned! There is no markwt for HTC. Neither Android nor Windows Phone. The only people using HTC are reviewers who highly rate HTC product which are later doomed in the market!

Zero after sales updates is true, sadly. But I am not reviewer using am 8X, I chose it because of it's build design compared to Lumias, and so far am happy with performance and hardware features.
I am really hoping they are going to make it, pushing out more sleek and elegant WPs with reasonable sized displays!

Ouch! I'll be with my 8x for almost two years. Crap! Damn you Verizon for not having the 928 when I switched over in March!

They had one foot in windows phone and another in android, never quiet making up their mind as to what they want to be. All I can think of is the HTC 8S with 4 GB memory. That is just stupid and the phone costs twice as much as 520, and 520 has 8GB on board storage

Yeah but that doesn't mean they had to focus on only one ecosystem. If they stopped making 1001 phone variants focuses on one product and executed probably they could have survived better across both platforms.

Not allegedly. Samsung fessed up to it and promised it would "never happen again." They play dirty and sell spyware phones, and people love them! Hooray!!!

I personally think they were doing that with more than just HTC... I see some incredibly dumb shit on forums lately.

I was a fan of HTC and loyal user, but lack of support for HD7 was the last straw and hence my move to Nokia (920). That has been a great decision for me and I guess a similar reason for others on WP and perhaps a contributing factor for the poor perception for HTC.

if they make a (one series) phone for windows that could help them. Just a suggestion, what could be worse going out of business ooh HTC you already are.

Long live Mogul/Touch Pro/Touch Pro 2/Arrive! Actually, I think the Arrive was one of the best hardware devices ever, for its time. These were, of course, the days of the absent Nokia in the US and then Nokia came back to remind us all of how its done correctly.

Don't forget the 8525, Tilt, and Tilt II. They were all great (once you loaded an xda dev ROM on them).

Yep. Pretty sure Tilt and Tilt 2 were the at&t variants of Touch Pro and Touch Pro 2. My 80 year old mother sports her HTC Titan as her daily driver, too.

I was just hit with an intense feeling of nostalgia regarding my old HTC Arrive... suddenly I really miss it.  I wish I would've kept it.  Oh well.

I got the HTC 8x and tbh, lately I'm damned disappointed in my choice for not waiting for the lumia to be released over here.. Although the design is great, the support from the OEM is seriously lacking.. :-/

I do like my HTC surround with the built in kickstand. But the lack of support and phone designs are why I will go with the Nokia 41mp monster when it arrives.

99$ for the 8GB 8x and 99$ for the superior L920. I bought 2 of those 8GB 8x for family members. There's something wrong with this picture. Fudge!!!!!! Anyway, HTC has been struggling with Android for 3years in a row! With Chou at the helm, they still continue this Android sheraid. Pride has gotten the better of CEO Chou. Not listening to his valuable staffers, they decide it was best to leave. Just saying.

Its sad that HTC, the company that put in the most effort in the early days of WM, Android and WP is getting pushed back. I personally think they lost it after WM, the amount of devices they churned out was wayy too many (Legend, Desire, Evo, One, Butterfly, Velocity, Rezound, Droid, Trophy, Radar, Sensation, Titan, Hero, Mozart), they should've focused on a single brand name for each platform, and built upon that, as what apple did with iPhone, Samsung did with galaxy, and Nokia with Lumia.

I called it in the beginning of Nokia coming to Windows phone that the last companies standing in the end fighting will be Nokia and Samsung

I think HTC has no underlying strategy. They're dipping their fingers in every pot they can find, hoping that the shotgun approach will work for them. Samsung has done similar things, but they're a much larger company with greater finances and flexibility, and their product line is more clearly defined.

HTC seens to be on a path typical of many Taiwanese companies. They're reactive. They're capable of doing cool things, but rarely take the initiative and innovate. They don't have a clear vision. So they'll create something like the HTC One, but they'll never capitalize on it's success because it won't be properly marketed and subsequent models will have no connection to it at all. It's already an uphill battle for them, for a variety of reasons. A big one being that the US retail market sucks for anyone but the biggest players.

I wouldn't be surprised if many of these people leaving HTC have done so because they're frustrated with upper management. It's something I've personally observed with other Taiwanese companies. They manage to find talent, give them enough encouragment that they start off optimistic, but then tie their hands constantly when it counts.

Well, if HTC's hurting bad, perhaps MS could cut them a deal similar to Nokia's, in return for a renewed push into windows phone. I think MS has the cash. Just blitz the market, perhaps Nokia and HTC working together could take on Samsung.

Nokia could still do with another WP competitor to push them into making even better phones.

Lol!  Nokia brings alot of value added products and services to the WP platform, as well as IP. HTC?  Not so much.
 
Nokia does not need HTC to succeed, or to take on 'Sammy'.  And with Nokia usurping virtually all of both Samsung's and HTC's WP marketshare, Nokia will do just fine with a partnership with HTC.
 
At this point, HTC just needs to make sure that they keep up the licensing fees they owe Nokia :)

Maybe Eric Lin will head back to Phonescoop.
 
Actually, it looks like  he's moved to Skype.

Nokia can't buy them outright, but hopefully they will be able to pick up some pieces in bankruptcy court.  HTC was ultimately just a distraction, now its Samsung vs Apple vs Nokia yay!

But if Samsung is really planning to release Tizen and migrate as many of their "loyal" customers to that, then HTC MIGHT be able to flourish a bit in the android world.

So long HTC. After my HD2 I promised myself to never buy another HTC device ever! I successfully avoided the HD7 and 8X (T-Mobile wise). I was happy with my 710 (Until WP8) and I sure shit am going to be happy as balls with the 925 soon.

How is getting rid of the bad managers that got HTC into trouble a bad thing? Someone explain, thx. The only route of survival for HTC are premium products like the One. There is no way they can compete with Samsung on volume. As to WP, HTC will only make new devices with Full HD when that is supported. Has to do with economies of scale. As to the First, Facebook paid HTC to make it... HTC might not make any money, but they won't loose any. Last, HTC has the best support for unlocked, purchased phones, can't be held responsible for US carriers blocking updates.

It's funny that you mention that HTC got rid of their bad managers; actually, it's sad because Microsoft just hired them!

HTC suffered from GREAT hardware design and speed to market but those are just two elements in the Customer Expereience equation. HTC really suffered with the most important element, experience over TIME.
 
You can't produce something and abandon it... TIME is the most important factor in a customers experience and if you are not improving and communicating to the customer that the experience over TIME is improving, then you've failed. Nokia gets this, Samsung and Apple get this, HTC doesn't seem to get this. They push out a phone and move on to the next thing.
 
Oh well... it might be too late now.

To me HTC's issue is no product diversity. They literally sell nothing but smartphones. That's all they do, that's all their known for. And if you're not in the market for a smartphone you're not thinking about HTC at all.
Add to that so many of their phones are gimmicky... kick stands 'n stuff like that. I mean yeah that can come in handy, but is it going to draw that many people in?
Beyond that, especially on the WP side they don't offer anything software-wise that stands out. It's like if they can't put their weak-ass Sense skin over something they don't know what to do. Not sure if they have the clout Nokia has to pull in exclusive titles, but they don't offer much of anything. A compass, a flashlight... really?
I hate to see them fall... I don't thinkk that will actually happen. But one thing they can do to help in the long run is push more support toward WP.
A few days ago someone here mentioned that MS should consider releasing that "Surface Phone" and having HTC build it (not branding it). That right there seems like a good idea. If they could release the One as a WP, as well as using the same tech and build quality in a Surface phone... that would be good. They should also consider making low-end devices like the 521.

If HTC declares bankruptcy, HTC have no choice but to crash at Microsoft's home. HTC makes attractive phones. However with their quality issues with 8x, I wonder who HTC hired to design 8x....

HTC makes beautiful phones...theres no doubt about that, but I agree with the article. My mom used to say, "Don't put all of your eggs in one basket..." In other words,if they were equally committed to WP and Android they may be in a much better position. WP users love their htc phones, now they just have to love WP a little more. :)

HTC said they will be bring exclusive apps to WP to compete with Nokia. I hope they haven't forgotten about their promise.

My last three phones have been HTC, from the HD2, HD7, and now the 8X. I must say they are good phones but they just don't provide the support that many customers want. Like many have said they have out their eggs on the android basket and the competition is eating them. It would be nice if there was more than one windows phone of theirs out at a time and provided support, I'm sure that would help turn things around some.

After buying 8x and experience with phone getting darker, cracked body and worned out corner, I am not buying any HTC phones with so called polycarbonate with soft coating on.

HTC makes some of the best phones I've seen. I love my 920 but the Droid DNA, HTC one, one x, one v, the evo 4G, the Droid incredible and the resound are some of the best phones I've seen and it sucks that Samsung is basically the king of android with their cheap feeling products and only because they have a better commercial,imo. If I ever went back to android I would always buy a HTC or SONY. I hope they come back around and maybe they will put more focus on wp8

HTCs problem is support. Most people feel they don't show enough support when needed which is why sales are falling. Best advertising is not money spent. Its word of mouth. And HTC only has negative word of mouth right now. If they plan on staying alive there gonna have to spend a little more supporting there devices after a sale to get a positive word of mouth going again. Apps, tweaks, ANYTHING on a regular bases will go a LONG ways period.

I have ben a loyal htc fan for many years and have found them to be innovative and well made. I have an 8x now and it is the most beautiful tactile phone I have ever had. Battery life is great. It has been so disappointing reading wpc article after article regarding Nokia. With the onset of apps support has been paramount and they have just not provided any.
I just hope they can sort out their problems. Stop knocking them. Let us give our support.

They're trying too much to succeed with just Android. If they advertise their WP products as much as they do for android, they'd see a big difference.

A new HTC One user started a petition. A lot of the points he made reflect the complaints I am reading about HTC in our forums. Maybe it’s more trouble than it’s worth, but I wanted to let you know about this, as HTC also (partly) stands for our beloved OS. I just signed—maybe you’d like too.

https://www.change.org/petitions/sav...excited-people
“Save HTC From Itself: Listen to users, embrace fresh ideas, hire fresh and excited people. It's important because HTC Users deserve to be heard and we don't want HTC to blow it's awesome poker hand it holds with [the One it’s Windows Phone devices].”

Yes. Agree with Gerzwin.
Does anyone at wpc or on this comment stream know anyone with influence at htc?
Get them to listen or even respond to us!!!