HTC Said To Be In “Complete Disarray” As Key Staff Exit, Struggles To Keep Up With One Demand


A brand new report surfacing out of The Verge suggests things are not all sunshine and rainbows in HTC’s camp. With key staff exiting the company, a “disastrous” HTC First launch and inventory constraints plaguing the HTC One launch, the company’s future looks anything but certain.

In the past three months HTC has lost Jason Gordon, the company’s vice president of global communications; global retail marketing manager Rebecca Rowland, director of digital marketing John Starkweather, and product strategy manager Eric Lin.

In fact, HTC is being likened to T-Mobile of two years ago which saw an exodus as the AT&T deal loomed.

“Anyone who’s heard of them in Seattle doesn’t want to go work for them right now. They’re like T-Mobile two years ago,” one source told us, gesturing to a downtrodden T-Mobile that was hemorrhaging subscribers leading up to AT&T’s attempted (and failed) acquisition. “They’re in utter freefall.”

That’s not to say HTC still doesn’t have plenty of talent on the hardware and software sides and writing them off now would be preliminary. Unfortunately, the release of the HTC First has drained morale as the device is already rumored to be on the chopping block. With a price cut from $99 to 99 cents in less than a month, the phone is said to be a “disaster” according to one source.

As for the company’s CEO Peter Chou, he’s signaled his intent to stop down if the HTC One isn’t successful. How that retail success will be defined is unknown, but it was Chou who moved the company forward with the One release even as he was alerted to supply and manufacturing delays.

All of this comes at a time when Samsung is dominating the marketplace and even if the HTC One can sit side-by-side with the HTC One pound for pound, ultimately it’s the Samsung device that will curry favor. The One has received rave reviews for its design and overall feel against the Galaxy S 4?s more plastic and dare I say, uninspiring hardware design.

The One was never expected to hit Samsung like numbers right from the start, especially not selling 10 million units in the first month. Still, the One may be the company’s great white whale and if it doesn’t succeed, what’s next may be anything but certain.

The Verge

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  • David Lebron

    Shame – it’s an amazing device and they make nothing but quality products

    • Graham Blackadder

      completely agree with you!

    • g2a5b0e

      Nothing but quality products? C’mon, man. Get real. EVERY company has at least a few stinkers. The Thunderbolt comes to mind as their biggest of recent years. That phone has been pretty much universally regarded as garbage.

      • kalel33

        Not to mention the HTC HD2. The HD2 was a modders dream but for people that didn’t mod it was one of the worst phones that T-mobile ever carried. I also remember the Mytouch 4G and the Sensation being the only two Android phones that couldn’t do MS Exchange without downloading the app Touchdown for $20. HTC woudn’t push out an update to fix the issue and there were other issues they had with phones: overheating of the Rezound and many Sensations and the whole debacle of selling the Mytouch 4G with defective glass, only to fix the issue in manufacturers later but wouldn’t allow you to exchange based on the glass issue.

      • David Lebron

        Sorry, phone police. Maybe they do have some Crap phones but compared to samsung and other companies, I’d say they’re ahead of the pack. Please don’t get me started on the list of trash samsung phones… Please lol

        • g2a5b0e

          Phone police? Ha. Okay. Ahead of the pack, but still making no money. Must suck for them.

        • David Lebron

          Sure does. With them out of the picture, samsung is quickly becoming the next apple – same phone year after year

        • g2a5b0e

          I’m sorry, man, but I just don’t agree with that argument. Do people expect a radically different design in the next iteration of a phone every year? That just makes no sense. The S4 is a huge step up from the S3. Much faster processor, bigger screen, higher resolution screen, most up to date Android version, better cameras, bigger battery, a host of new features, the list goes on…it may not be as big as the difference between the S2 & S3, but I definitely think it’s bigger than the step from the S1 to the S2. I just don’t understand how anyone can call it the same phone just because it looks similar. Anyone who thinks that just isn’t paying attention.

        • David Lebron

          I sell the phones, chief and I could care less what they look like – I’m about performance and quality. The difference between the S3 and S4 is a joke. Fact is, it doesn’t matter what they put out, fanbois will buy it without hesitation. The biggest difference is the camera. Bigger screen – barely. Faster processor – it’s an overclocked S600 and people don’t see a difference in speed (especially with all the Samsung bloat on it). And that bloat is 90% of the “host of new” features on the phone that you speak of. It’s all software that’ll make its way to the S3 and note 2. So what really is the difference between the S3 and S4??? It’s Ok, I’ll wait….

        • g2a5b0e

          It’s “I couldn’t care less” & I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

        • David Lebron

          Lol ever heard of a typo? What a smart guy. I COULDN’T CARE LESS about what we agree or disagree on. Just to spite you, I’ll disagree to agree lol

        • g2a5b0e

          Whatever makes you happy, guy.

    • g2a5b0e

      Nothing but quality products? C’mon, man. Get real. EVERY company has at least a few stinkers. The Thunderbolt comes to mind as their biggest of recent years. That phone has been pretty much universally regarded as garbage.

  • mcaslan

    David – you have a few typos in your article. One to One comparisons instead of One to Samsung as well as some other illogical sentense structures to fix.

    • Eric

      ….who cares???

      • Deadeye37

        Normally, I wouldn’t care, but this article was a bit harder to read because there were a few typos instead of just one or 2.

        • i agree…this was a pompously written article…not to say you are pompous…

    • Eric

      ….who cares???

  • Graham Blackadder

    my 1st HTC phone was the mytouch 4g. it was exceptionally built and last me almost 3 years. I wanted another great HTC phone. i waited and waited for another great HTC device but alas the nexus 4 dropped into my lap and i havent looked back since. i simply wasnt prepared to wait for HTC to get there inventory and shipping for the HTC ONE figured out and after numerous delays and my apprehension about there updating cock ups or lack of i went elsewhere. it was a disaster from day one and

  • tmo_employee

    not to mention t-mobile will not release the phone in every store because since it has a non removable battery it will cost too much to refurbish

  • tomarone

    Please. Anyone with a smidgen of engineering talent just KNOWS, that personnel with titles of:
    “the company’s vice president of global communications; global retail marketing manager, director of digital marketing, and product strategy manager.”,
    …aren’t worth keeping and the company is much better off without them.

    • yeah most of the time, these are just figure heads who dont really do much but hold meetings

    • Yoda

      Exactly! Marketing is HTCs Achilles’ heel, so why not fire the marketing heads? Cost cutting and restructuring doesn’t always mean “disarray”, and in the case of tmobile, look how theyve rebounded from HR shuffling?

      • kalel33

        Look how T-mobile rebounded in customer service when they…..oh wait, they didn’t. They haven’t been the same since Sue left and have been dead last in customer service since. Sometimes those heads do make a difference in departments.

        • Jose Hernandez

          They absolutely do. Agreed

    • One of the random people

      They named three random people out of the mass group of people from all departments who are streaming out of the company right now. The company is the Titanic and the rest of us are yelling about the iceberg. The Peter Chou is the captain of the Titanic, who despite all of us warning him about the iceberg, is still on the crash course, so I jumped ship. Peter Chou is an engineer. See how that’s working? All the marketing geniuses in the world couldn’t right that wrong. Savvy?

  • Deadeye37

    I’m still rooting for HTC. I’m hoping that the One succeeds and can get HTC back on track.

    The hardware on the One is killer, but HTC needs to step it up as far as software updating goes. They should take a page out of Samsung’s book and keep updating the older One S, X, etc. with newer features.

    • kalel33

      They should take a page and just update their phones like Samsung does or like HTC used to. The HTC Amaze is still on ICS and Samsungs GS2 is on Jellybean, even though both were released at the same time.

      • Jose Hernandez

        I agree, HTC is just about the worst OEM there is when it comes to updating their phones.

  • mueller2051

    htc lost me after the amaze. no sd card no battery i can replace or extended. you wonder why a company like htc cant see the complaints the costumer give as feed back. time for a awesome phone with sd card ,big display,removable battery and a awesome camera. my s3 has 32 gig card and a 7000mill amp extended batttery that last three days (thanks ZeroLemon batterys)

  • They will say anything to draw attention to themselves, to get sales.

  • ResidentJack

    This Just In! Samsung buys out HTC for 1 Galaxy S4 and a Pack of Smokes!

    • lol

    • This just in, samsung continues to pay people to post negative comments about htc…oh wait..some stooges pay to complain

  • Graham Blackadder

    i loved HTC. there quality was second to none. i had the mytouch 4g for well over the 2 years due to it still working great. Sense was smooth, i wanted the ONE but after numerous delays in launch dates, not much inventory if any in stores if at all they lost me as a customer.

  • OZ

    HTC has been manufacturing smartphones since forever. They got the know-how, they know what they are doing. Unfortunately they do not have the brand recognition; their marketing is to blame. Now boosting the morale is another challenge, and dealing with external factors like component shortage/manufacturing delays is a hard one to deal with.

    I wish they could turn around. I have been using HTC devices exclusively since 2006. They rock.

    • Graham Blackadder

      Not only do they have to boost morale perhaps and shortages of componants, the bigger thing they have to deal with is that Samsung is so far ahead of them nowadays. They have lost so many loyal customers, fans and fallen so far behind samsung in such a short amount of time there could be no coming back.

  • jmfos

    HTC should make a nexus or stock android phone.

    • Whiskers

      Or take the One and make an 8 with WP8 and watch it sell like hotcakes.

    • Noel

      Yup been saying the same for a long time now…they need that now more than ever. Their problem to some extent has been marketing and silly sale damping exclusives. The best Nexus made to date is the N1…long for a repeat of some sort from HTC be it a straight up Nexus 5 or a stock JB/KLP device. My next device will be the next Nexus hopefully made by HTC or a stock HTC ONE or stock DLX 2. Why not make it happen HTC. By the way despite the disarray at HTC…things will settle down, HTC is going no where folks.

      • its kind of BS that LG is making the nexus 5 after they made the 4

  • schova

    I have an HTC One and love it. (coming from a GS3)
    Running CM 10 on it and couldn’t be happier with the premium quality.

    I don’t mean to be a grammar Nazi but it seems you rushed this article without proofreading?

    • the point is you’re running something other than what came with the phone. most people want a phone that they love right out of the box without having to run a custom rom on it.

  • Rasiel Suarez

    Oh alright, I guess i can come in and be CEO for a couple months. Compensation package better be good though!

  • Marc Longstreet

    Haven’t had HTC since the evo 3D. The sense ui (while better then others out there) dirties the true android experience. Added with dropping support (I think the 3D was eol (end of life) titles less then a year after release) the lack of updates an locking the boot loader drove me away. I seen many leave HTC when they made it harder to root the devices they made as well as gaining mass negative media for doing so. You make poor choices (over and over again) this is what happens. I have little sympathy and its not to bash HTC as I have used them exclusively from the tytn (windows mobile) to 3D. In the end the better companies survive the others dissapear.

    • I think all skins should be optional of all Android devices. If someone doesn’t like the features, they could turn it off and get stock Android.

  • Paddy_Tanninger_Caddy_Manager

    How do you know they weren’t fired? There’s so much internal politics going on at these companies, no one really knows until you talk to the people in question. These 3 all had similar job descriptions which is marketing, maybe HTC felt like they failed?

    • Adrayven

      Correct.. in-fact, I remember an article stating that marketing team was possibly on the block for it’s 2012 failures.

      This very well maybe part of that cleanup/shakeup.. hrrmm now I have to find article.. it was back in feb I think..

  • HTCBlows

    HTC stopped listening to the customer quite some time ago and failure is bound to follow with that attitude.

  • Cornelius Hardy

    They should have made this available for WP8

    • superg05

      LOLif you mean they could have made it a windows 8 phone they would have had even less sales now it you mean make a variant not a bad meh… they would have wasted resources unless Microsoft helped them

      • WW

        I interpret Cornelius’ comment as “also”…Same hardware with WP8 OS in addition to the Android version.

  • Forget_you

    well if they are the ones who are partly responsible for htc woes the past couple of years isn’t it good they are gone? Get some new people in there who know what they are doing. Htc is still profitable so I’m not buying all this doom and gloom, and with the htc one I can see htc bouncing back this year. No one even knows the whole story and it’s “ooh they are doomed!” and there marketing was pretty bad so is it such a shocker to see the marketing manager gone?

    • Jose Hernandez

      Well, when key higher executives that know what is coming down the road start to abandon ship like rats on a sinking boat…….. that should tell us something.

      HTC does make some really good hardware. Their software has never been the best and they do have a reputation for the software breaking down after a while and the phones not act right.

      The also should have stopped with the darn exclusive deals a long time ago. Everyone could see that it was hurting them but them!!!

      Too bad for them. I want them to be ok, and we should not write them off before all is said and done. But it is reason for concern when the big wigs start leaving the company in droves.

      • Chilehead

        You’re making a big assumption. How do you know they weren’t forced to “abandon ship”?

    • xero

      Marketing was their MAJOR focal point throughout the whole One phase. Marketing isn’t the issue, they were even ballsy enough to post up with demo models in Times Square during Samsungs’ S4 reveal. Their biggest fault is not having the components available at launch to mass produce the One. Marketing was brilliant in my opinion but the supply shortage is what could ultimately deem this a flop. HTC is notorious for poor battery life and little to no software updates. I’m not a samsung fanboy necessarily but they run the gamut from conception, marketing and meeting demand and providing updates at key points throughout the devices life span. Of course they’re in disarray, they talked big but…here they are.

      • the average person has heard of Samsung and is probably aware of the galaxy brand. I don’t think the average person kknows what HTC is or the one, despite all of it great reviews.. I’ve never seen a TV ad for it

        • xero

          I’ve seen my fair share of HTC One commercials over the past few weeks on the east coast. What amazes me is how many people come into the store i work at inquiring about the phone. People know HTC but they all have the same complaints where it concerns outdated software and battery life. I do concede that the average customer hears more about Samsung than HTC through word of mouth but, they do have peoples attention; be it negative or positive for that matter.

  • Journalism Is Dead

    Editing Flop – Of course the HTC One can sit with the HTC One pound for pound.

  • superg05

    htc kept giving one or two carriers exclusives while Samsung sold to all for years who damn fault is it

    • kalel33

      HTC has always sold to all the carriers. If were talking about a unified device on all carriers then Samsung has only done it with the S3 and S4, which would be for a year and not years as you contest. The S2 wasn’t on the largest network in the US and the previous version had variants for each carrier.

      • superg05

        s2 was Verizon choice to pass on it they had a hissy fit they couldn’t get there own exclusive version like before but even after seeing how well Samsung was doing they did more of the same.
        plus there quality control sucks, they took away expandable memory, didn’t even try to give you software to go with the hardware in your phone all you get is Sense UI not good enough while Samsung supported hardware through software features for example like S-beam Samsung variation of android beam that uses NFC to pair and WiFi-Direct to send while android beam uses only NFC+ Bluetooth but they did not even give you software for that just what built in with htc

  • Xiaofeng

    Did anyone actually proofread this article? There are so many mistakes that it’s distracting to read.

    • ogopogo

      That’s why we have you. By the way, you are late. get to work.

  • Caerolle

    Well, the One certainly can’t hit Samsung, or any kind of numbers, if they can’t make the thing and get it in stores. It *may* actually make it to my area next month, but probably not. So I finally bought something else.

  • Rauel Crespo

    Easiest fix…Take all those “First” phones, repurpose them to just stock Android, and sell them at Wal-Mart/Best Buy/Target as $200 unlocked phones. Looking at HTC’s actuaries on the hardware, each “First” only cost $120 to build so they would make some money on it. But then again, that just coming from me, somebody who actually knows how to run a business….

    • galaxydude

      They would have to sell at 150$ to 175 to
      Spark interest.

      • PiCASSiMO

        Yeah… $150-$175 stock android would certainly be a good seller.

        • Jarred Sutherland

          I really don’t see how these OEMs don’t get that fact. Most people are cheap, they want a good phone at a very good price. It just boggles my mind how HTC is failing when they have good hardware .. they just have too much garbage bloat on their devices, which then cause them to never be updated.

  • conservative_motorcyclist

    Why would you want anything with Facebook integration like that is
    beyond me…the market that this is targeted for has all moved onto
    Twitter…This has Microsoft Kin written all over it!

    The HTC One is an amazing device, hardware-wise. They need a WP8 version of it!

    • auser72

      The phone being subsidized by Facebook is the only reason I could think of.

  • Wow this needs to have been proofed before making live.

  • VEC

    The HTC One Hardware materials are great but the quality control that the phones received prior to release was horrible! I bought one and returned it. The edges were rough and having the power / wake up button on top of a large smooth phone was not thought out well. The battery life for heavy users makes that phone a bad choice for anyone who has ever carried a spare battery. HTC is making stupid decisions and I love HTC phones. I had the HTC MDA, Wing, G1 and MyTouch 4G. Battery life is the number one voted con of Smartphones, why would they do anything to frighten consumers when they are so far behind Samsung? They might be done.

    • WW

      HTC’s Following Apple’s example but they don’t have the fanbase to pull it off.

      Why not make a device for those who prefer the fixed storage and battery AND one with removable as well…CHOICE.

      I don’t want to have to buy a Samsung phone if I want those features.

      At least it looks like T-Mobile’s bringing in Sony again (NO MORE “MEMORYSTICK”) to improve our choices.

  • bob

    Getting ready of the sdcard storage was the first mistake

    • bob

      Getting ‘rid’

  • Guest

    I have had two HTC phones. Both of them have been rock solid. Custom Roms made them stellar. I hope they can come back and compete with Apple and Samsung.

    Also, wish the HTC One had a removable back and SD card slot but I know I am just preaching to the choir.

    • WW

      There are tons of people who laud the One (and recent HTC predecessors) for a non-user replaceable battery and no expandable memory.

      I’m with you. Those features increase choice rather than restricting it but at least there are other OEM’s if one (no pun intended) wants those features.

      • Chuck

        Yes I agree. HTC One is a great phone and I’ve had 2 in the past. But Mr.Peter why did you go the “Apple” route of non-removable battery and no expansion slot lately? I think it is biggest mistake and I had to switch to SAM.
        I wish One had storage expansion and removable battery. Hope you are reading this and good luck!

        • Noel

          AGREED 100%..cuz so many who love HTC and the One device but might skip it cuz of the lack of SD card slot and removable battery. Instead some will likely get the GS4 cuz Sammy had the good sense to satisfy all potential customers. HTC is loosing potential customers by constantly leaving out those two specs on their flagship deviices . The HTC One with those two specs on board. . .will sell even more cuz there will be no excuse to skip it. I strongly do hope they rectify this on the upcoming DLX2

    • tomarone

      Those features are great but they make it more delicate, prone to break when dropped or knocked. More $$$ also.

  • form over function .. great looking phone but you can’t deny it lacks in features in comparison to the S4. and that’s what “most” people want .. function/features not a “pretty little phone” to look at.

    • Guest

      I actually like the look of the S4. Reminds me of the S2 which looks better to me than either the S3 or S4.

      • SecularRealist

        Wtf did you just say…you like s4 because it reminds you of s2 that’s better than s3 and s4? So you like a phone that reminds you of a phone that’s better than the phone you like that reminds you of that phone?

        • CREAMTEAM

          I AM CRACKING UP!!!!!!

        • edward_2k1

          “I’m a dude playing a dude disguised as another dude” lol!!!

      • Guest

        “I’m a dude playing a dude disguised as another dude” lol

    • kawkaw

      Some gimmic thrown in features from samsung do not outweigh the design, feel, speed (yes the s4 has been know to lag like crazy even though its hardware is awesome), the front facing amplified speakers, low light camera and easier to use sense software.

      Don’t get me wrong, s4 is a nice phone. But I will pick front facing amplified speakers and a consistently smooth/fast experience over that phone any day.

  • tomarone

    Is this layoffs?

    • tomarone

      Those execs are moving to microsoft. Microsoft is pushing hard in the Windows Phone space, with their $130 phone which is good! They surpassed BlackBerry for market share. Microsoft has an opportunity. HTC needs to shed expenses and keep making great phones, make a mini One that is cheap (or sell the First for cheap) to get back market share. They have subsidized WiFi in NYC Subways as a marketing gimmick.

  • Graham Blackadder

    HTC got to the point they were releasing phone after phone after phone and their quality dropped as a result. Even their bigwigs had to come out and accept responsibility and say less phone releases better phone quality etc. Well either way you look at it and fact of matter is that in the last 18-24 months it has been an epic fail and huge fall from grace for HTC, and if they can’t get their FLAGSHIP device produced and available enough for people I’m not sure they will ever get it and recover

  • auser72

    Smaller company don’t have the Deep pockets to ride out the storm.

  • Jacob Koehler

    I don’t understand why it’s so hard to proof read something before you post it. Sighs.

    • Claudia Carvalho

      You mean “proofread.”

      • Jacob Koehler

        Actually it can be used either way. But nice try.

  • Why is it so bad if most re iews call the One the best device out tgere

  • steveb944

    The One is arguably the best device on the market today. The First on the other hand I simply laughed when I saw it, what a waste of marketing/R&D.

  • A Griffith

    How long before Blackberry leverages everything it has to buy HTC? Call me crazy but it makes perfect sense for BBerry to leverage its remaining cash on hand to buy itself into the Android space and gobble up HTC’s patents (if they have any). If you haven’t noticed BBerry seems to be ponying up to the idea its platform is in trouble with its BBM for Android and iOS release.

    And I’m not advocating for it or even saying they could make it work, but when Berry is in trouble it just starts buying other stuff thats available for cheap… ie: QNX.

    • JointhePredacons

      It’s sweet that you are a Blackberry fan when they are the company that will die soon, not HTC. As fantasies go, you have a huge imagination. lol. Blackberry was cool circa 2005.

  • tonkotsu

    it’s what you get when you’re stubborn.

  • ceegii63

    its Steve’s Ghost doing Mojo on you HTC, you tried to copy Apple so he’s up in heaven telling God to screw with you

  • Bklynman

    This the 2nd phone HTC came out with Facebook,tat fail,does anyone remember The Status? Also made
    for Att. You think Att. and HTC would learn from that phone,but I guess not.