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Google Signs US$1.1B Agreement For Part Of HTC’s Smartphone Team

Google has confirmed it plans to buy part of HTC’s smartphone business for US$1.1 billion.

As part of the deal, about half of the 4,000 people employed in HTC’s R&D team will move to Google, Engadget reported.

“These future fellow Googlers are amazing folks we’ve already been working with closely on the Pixel smartphone line, and we’re excited to see what we can do together as one team,” Google SVP of Hardware Rick Osterloh said in a blog post.

Google said it would also separately receive a “non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property”.

HTC has confirmed it will continue operating its smartphone business following the deal which, despite the loss of employees, will ensure “continued innovation within our HTC smartphone and Vive virtual reality businesses” according to HTC CEO Cher Wang.

The next flagship smartphone from HTC is said to already be in development.

Earlier, HTC suspended its shares ahead of a rumoured acquisition by Google.

“It’s still early days for Google’s hardware business” according to Osterloh, but Google is “excited” about its 2017 products and “even more inspired by what’s in store over the next five, 10, even 20 years”.

“We’re focused on building our core capabilities, while creating a portfolio of products that offers people a unique yet delightful experience only made possible by bringing together the best of Google software—like the Google Assistant—with thoughtfully designed hardware. HTC has been a longtime partner and has created some of the most beautiful, high-end devices on the market. We can’t wait to welcome members of the HTC team to join us on this journey,” he said.

Google is expected announce a range of new products at an event on October 5. Leaks have indicated the Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 2, Google Home Mini and a new ‘Pixelbook’ will be among the products unveiled at the event.

HTC said the transaction is expected to close “by early 2018” subject to regulatory approval.

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