Losing a batting average against the big boys like Samsung and Apple, HTC had to release 20 percent of their American division to ease their financial burdens. As many employees were planning their weekend, their end of the week ended on a sour note. The struggling mobile company pulled roughly 30 out of their 150 employees into meetings and dismissed their positions.
The layoffs, reports one unnamed source, wasn’t specific. Each department felt the touch of a pink slip and the company heads were somber as they delivered the news. Jason Mackenzie, the President of HTC Americas had explained to his team that taking this move was “the most difficult” day of his career in the company. The company, per Mackenzie is looking to reorganize, reduce overall costs and streamline their division.
HTC Corp invested millions into acquiring Robert Downey, Jr. for a flashy commercial and even saw strong success with the HTC One. HTC has also taken major hits in the last few months, leading to the layoffs now seen in the US division. Kouji Kodera was the Chief Product Officer of HTC, he departed from HTC earlier this year and his disappearance was felt. Kodera was one of the minds behind HTC One’s successful release.
In addition to Kodera, the company faced financial blows when the vice-president of global communications left, followed by directors and strategy managers. It seems the top executives did not want to be aboard the sinking ship. Eric Lin, the former product strategy manager had taken to Twitter in May to clearly show his opinion for his fellow managers and the employees.
The company touts the HTC One as a success, with its larger screen and Boom sound effects. The phone originally appeared strongly created and innovative. It is now falling rapidly in sales to contenders like Samsung Galaxy S4 and even the Moto X. With its initial success of the One, HTC is trying to sweep other failures under the carpet. The HTC One VX and especially the HTC First dragged the company further into decline.
The HTC First was promoted as the first smartphone with the Facebook Home. What was intended to be exclusive became a lie, when Facebook hit the Google Play app market for downloads. The exclusivity was lost and the HTC First has dropped horribly in sales. The phone made its debut at $99.99 with a 2-year contract. Within a few weeks, customers were enjoying the $0.99 price on a 2-year contract.
HTC while feeling the hits of bad product placement and a lack of consistent promotion, shouldn’t feel alone. The smartphone industry as a whole is beginning to see a peak loss of interest. Even Apple failed to impress its dominate share of the market. Upon the announcement of the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S, the company saw their stocks tumble 5 percent. When a company that is accustomed to rapid sales begins to see lukewarm reception, it may be time for a change in the market.
Hopefully, with a changing path in mind, HTC will recover from these hits they have experienced. Releasing 20 percent of their US division staff was a hard pill for many to swallow. A business decision no one likes to make, especially when HTC had high hopes for its success. Going back to the drawing board intelligently and viewing the competition can help the company. HTC should consider the aspect of removable batteries, larger screens and perhaps integration of a higher degree with wearable technology. Focusing on firmware configurations and updates can also see a boost of interest once more from an uninterested audience.