After several weeks of rumors, Google announced this evening an “agreement” that will see HTC employees who worked on the Pixel join the Alphabet company’s hardware division. The deal is valued at $1.1 billion, while HTC will continue to run its smartphone business.
In a blog post this evening, hardware chief Rick Osterloh announced that Google “signed an agreement with HTC” to “fuel even more product innovation in the years ahead.” This acquihire will see “a team of HTC talent” — pegged at around 2,000 employees by the New York Times — join Google’s hardware division.
With this agreement, a team of HTC talent will join Google as part of the hardware organization. These future fellow Googlers are amazing folks we’ve already been working with closely on the Pixel smartphone line, and we’re excited to see what we can do together as one team.
Osterloh specifically notes that the incoming team has already worked with Google on the Pixel lineup. Today’s deal also sees Google get a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property. The transaction, pending regulatory approvals, is expected to be finalized by early 2018.
Meanwhile, HTC will continue to run a smartphone division, in contrast to earlier reports that the Taiwanese company would focus on its Vive virtual reality business. In a press release, HTC reaffirms that it’s still fully in the phone market, noting that they are “currently working on the next flagship phone.”
Osterloh frames the news as continuing their “big bet” on hardware and speaks of Google’s goal to control both the hardware and software experience. The hardware chief makes note to the upcoming October event, but also Google’s long-term vision for their devices:
We’re excited about the 2017 lineup, but even more inspired by what’s in store over the next five, 10, even 20 years. Creating beautiful products that people rely on every single day is a journey, and we are investing for the long run.