Alphabet Inc's Google says it will pay $1.1 billion for a division at Taiwan's HTC Corp that develops the U.S. firm's Pixel smartphones - its second major foray into phone hardware after an earlier costly failure. Graham Mackay reports
A billion dollar trans-Pacific tech deal announced on Thursday - the Taiwanese electronice maker HTC confirming that Google is buying up the team behind its Pixel smartphone division - the latest step in the U.S. giant's mission to bolster its hardware business. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) HTC CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER AND SPOKESPERSON, PETER SHEN, SAYING: "Google is recruiting those members of HTC that were involved in producing the Pixel smartphone to join Google. In addition, HTC also grants its intellectual property to be used by Google under a non-exclusive license." The two companies are long-time partners Though while HTC once sold one in ten smartphones globally its market share has dropped steeply in recent years. That's got some experts wondering why Google is keen on a hardware maket that's past it's prime. For HTC though - it could be a chance to focus on the future - Namely, vistual reality. The 2 billion dollar global VR industry is still just getting off the ground. but by cutting its focus on phones and prioritising its Vive headsets - some say HTC is making a bold but sensible move. A powerful ally like Google's parent company Alphabet - which is also pushing into VR software -could also be invaluable in staving off rivals like Facebook and Sony. HTC shares were put on a trading halt ahead of Thursday's announcement. The 1-point-1 billion dollar cash deal is expected to close by early 2018.