This Week 6 Years Ago, Google Paid $1B for HTC’s Pixel Team

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In late 2017, Google announced that it had entered a cooperation agreement with HTC to acquire the talent who worked on the early HTC-made Pixel devices. At the time, HTC was struggling financially, so many on the outside saw it as more of a helpful gesture from Google to keep HTC’s mobile business afloat. As history shows, maybe more was needed.

The deal closed in late January of 2018, so by our count and as noted by calendar-checking reddit user u/Ruff_Ryda, it’s been six years since this took place.

From an outside perspective, it’s hard to determine just how much the acquired talent influenced subsequent Pixel devices or who all is still involved at Google. If anything, one could argue that many of the Pixel devices Google has recently released, and even the ones on the horizon, still have a bit of HTC design deep in their DNA. I wrote the following in May of 2020 when debating the “worse purchase,” Google’s $12.5B acquisition of Motorola Mobility or the HTC $1B gift.

It was solely a talent acquisition play, seeming more like a $1 billion favor to HTC to help its bottom line as the company was failing fast. Since HTC’s Pixel team has joined Google, the Pixel phones haven’t been widely successful. This point is most evident with the latest news being that the Pixel 4 was a complete and utter failure on the market.

History has a way of putting things into a much more friendly perspective. The Pixel brand has really grown into its own since the Pixel 6 with things only looking up. Our main hope is that all of the human beings (what these companies call talent) involved in these deals are on their feet and doing well, whether it be for Google, Apple, or whoever.

Last I looked, HTC is still heavily involved in VR.



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