Google inks non-exclusive $1.1B deal with HTC

Google on Thursday announced that it has entered into a $1.1 billion cooperation with Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC.

Under the arrangement, Google gains a team of HTC employees, a number of which had already worked together on the Pixel smartphone.  Moreover, Google receives non-exclusive licenses to some of HTC’s intellectual property.

As a pioneer of the smartphone market, we are very proud of our history of innovation. Our unmatched smartphone value chain, including our IP portfolio, and world-class talent and system integration capabilities, have supported Google in bolstering the Android market – Cher Wang, Chairwoman and CEO of HTC

The agreement formally cements a relationship that started nearly a decade ago with the first Android phone, the T-Mobile G1. What’s more, it helps Google and its endeavors in the hardware space; phones and virtual reality are two areas where Google really wants to make headway.

Rumors of a potential partnership have circulated for some time, including a few last minute details surfacing today that HTC has halted sales of its stock.

HTC at one point commanded a sizable slice of the Android and smartphone pie with around ten percent of the market. However, the market share has fallen over the last few years, all the way down to where it sits today at less than two percent.

Google has done its part to keep HTC afloat over time, turning to them for some of the Nexus tablets and the Pixel. It’s hard to say where the company might be had Google not tapped the phone maker for help these last two years.

Regardless of the money involved, Google inherits a company in desperate need of some help, if not a complete turnaround. It will be interesting to see what becomes of Google’s hardware plans going forward and whether they’ll rely solely on HTC’s smarts and IP for future phones.