Google Working to Acquire HTC?

September 12, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

Mobile payments don’t go anywhere without mobile devices, plain and simple. The platforms on which mobile payments operate are central to their use and full market potential. Which is why it’s so downright noteworthy that new reports have emerged suggesting Google wants at least a piece of smartphone maker HTC.

The reports suggest that HTC, stung by a string of less-than-successful smartphone launches, has an interest in offering up some of its operations to Google. This has been met with skepticism, perhaps most notably CNBC, who called the report “fishy” and pointed out that Google already bought and resold Motorola Mobility, so why repeat the process with HTC?

Good points, but even CNBC noted that HTC already builds the Google Pixel. If Google did pick up HTC, it would be able to put more focus behind hardware and bring out more along the Pixel brand. Word from UBS analyst Eric J. Sheridan noted that such a move would allow Google to better integrate hardware and software, as well as address the issue of development cycles in mobile computing trends.

Given that Google’s parent company Alphabet is sitting on around $95 billion in cash, an HTC acquisition likely wouldn’t faze its overall earnings trajectory much. So it’s the kind of issue that probably couldn’t hurt the company much either way, and might actually help.

In the end, mobile payments must have sound mobile devices to work from. We’ve already seen as much with Apple and Apple Pay as well as Samsung and Samsung Pay, but have we seen it from Google? Google Wallet isn’t exactly a big force in the field, and a good chunk of that might be that users are sticking to the walled garden of choice. That particular fracturing of the market doesn’t help, but the more Google can do to get users interested in a Google-branded device—especially for the lower-end market that doesn’t want to shell out for Apple and Samsung’s latest—the better it might do on this front.

So while Google may not pick up HTC at all, such a move would give it extra leverage going forward, and a lot more room to operate in a market that’s kind of leaving Google behind.