HTC could potentially sell off its Vive virtual reality arm or sell its entire business, according to a report out today.
Sources divulged to Bloomberg (opens in new tab) that the tech giant behind gadgets like the lauded HTC Vive headset and HTC U11 smartphone has brought on an adviser as it considers strategic avenues.
The Vive division appears the most vulnerable. Options reportedly being pondered include a strategic investor partnership, spinning off the business, or putting a 'For Sale' sign on the whole thing.
While selling all of HTC is also possibility, one source said there's a lesser chance of this happening since the company is comprised of varied parts that don't necessarily make sense for one buyer to purchase.
Bloomberg notes HTC hasn't made any definitive decisions regarding its business, and the company could stay as-is with no change taking place.
TechRadar asked HTC about on today's report and were told by a spokesperson that, per company policy, HTC doesn't comment on rumors or speculation.
HTC's fall has been notable, and observers likely aren't surprised to learn it might be considering these options.
Once one of the premier Android phone makers, the company has seen its market value shrivel by about 75% over the last five years, according to Bloomberg. And while HTC once commanded over 10% of the smartphone market, in 2017 that's crashed to 0.6%, according to TrendForce forecasts (via Forbes (opens in new tab)).
One contributing factor to HTC's struggles is that it has in recent years flooded store shelves with a wide range of phones, essentially diluting its offerings and confusing customers.
This year, HTC committed to only releasing a handful of mid- to high-tier phones and staying out of the entry-level space in an attempt to return to profitability.
Virtual reality was seen as a way for HTC to expand its business into a new market, and the HTC Vive is a fantastic result of those efforts.
Aptly, TechRadar with HTC Vive's European General Manager, Paul Brown, this week about the price cut, and he called it a "strategic decision" rather than the result of reduced manufacturing costs, which often lead to price drops.
Chief competitor Oculus Rift is permanently reducing its price later this year in the US, though customers can currently take advantage of that are markedly cheaper than HTC Vive.
Oculus Rift's moves likely contributed to HTC's "strategic decision" to lower the Vive's price.
Is this really end game?
As Bloomberg says, the talks may end up being just that and HTC as we know it could remain. Companies likely discuss selling various parts of their business frequently, if only to gauge interest.
One scenario we see playing out is for HTC to see how customers respond to the HTC Vive price reduction before making a decision on its VR future.
The new price may be a sweeter spot for greater adoption, though the issues of limited content and the need for lots of space in the home (not to mention those expensive PC rigs) remain.
HTC also has designs on taking Vive outside of the gaming world and into sectors such as , much like we've seen with Microsoft HoloLen, and it will likely want to let those efforts develop further before deciding to sell.
Finally, HTC is launching a wireless Vive headset running on Google's Daydream VR platform later this year. The headset will almost certainly be cheaper than the current Vive and also doesn't require a pricey PC to run content.
The headset could breathe new life into VR at HTC... or make it all the more attractive to potential buyers.
- Until then, these are the best VR games to enjoy right now