HTC Makes Deep Cuts to R&D, Marketing, Amid Financial Panic
October 26, 2012 11:55 AM
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Troubled investments and troubled sales equate to a troubled HTC
Taiwan's HTC Corp. (
) is in trouble.
Struggling in global sales
a $40M USD hit
from its failed
OnLive cloud gaming investment
, the Taiwanese OEM posted dreary financials for Q3 2012.
Revenue came in at T$70.2B ($2.40B USD), while profit came in at T$3.9B ($133.1M USD). While over one hundred million in profit would be good news for many firms, you only need to glance at HTC's
to see the disturbing trend that has unfolded over the past several quarters:
HTC did have some success on the quarter. It launched the
HTC One X+
, a beefed up version of its Android flagship device. It also announced
the 8S and 8X
Windows Phone 8 smartphones, which it claims Microsoft Corp. (
) considers the "hero product" of the Windows Phone platform.
Also in the good news category HTC reduced its excess inventory. And it made a bold $35M USD investment in Magnet Systems, a U.S. firm which HTC describes as "the creator of next-generation software platform for [the] mobile enterprise market."
But in the bad news category, HTC's gross margin -- a measure of return on sales -- has slid from 28 percent to 25 percent in the last year. And HTC's slumping earnings have forced it to cut R&D spending by 15 percent, cut advertising/marketing by nearly 45 percent, and cut administrative overhead by 30 percent.
Struggling phonemaker HTC will be a lot more "quietly" brilliant: it's cutting its marketing spending by approximately 40 percent. [Image Source: Reuters]
Such cuts can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand they may help HTC's financials in the short term. On the other hand, cutting your marketing budget nearly in half and making substantial cuts to your R&D budget can hurt revenue in the long terms as customers will be less aware of your product and your product won't be as cutting edge.
slumping global economy
HTC predicted an even worse holiday Q4 2012. It expects revenue of T$60B ($2.05B USD) and a gross margin of 23.0 percent. That's approximately 40 percent less revenue than HTC made last holiday season.
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RE: HTC failed to address what people wanted most
10/26/2012 6:05:32 PM
So a big chunk of this is not true, just perception. Motorola only has one device that has a big battery, most of the other devices, their battery is not better (or worse) than what LG, Samsung or HTC does.
Samsung makes the most vibrant screens (with AMOLED technology, that HTC and other handset manufacturers make), but HTC has had devices with much better screen quality. This includes One X with the S-LCD2 screen which has been reported in many outlets as superior to that of GSIII. The upcoming DLX phone at Verizon is even more high resolution with true 1080p and 440 ppi.
As for processors, that is meaningless. Also, most of Samsung devices uses either Qualcomm or ST/TI chips.
But while Bifurchated Boat makes a poor argument, what he says speaks volumes. HTC has bad press, and it is catching on. Whether it is fixed battery and memory, lack of upgrades to ICS, quality issues, it is beginning a perception that HTC is behind the times and arrogant to consumer wants.
Also, the truth is that Galaxy S3 isn't selling volumes because of it's superior quality, or technology. It is because they are spending a Brinks truck of money per hour to sell the device and their marketing message have been effective. They have effectively bought the marketplace with a great device. They deserve the sales numbers they are getting.
The truth is that the Motorola MAXX is also a great device, the LG Optimus G is a great device, the HTC One X is a great device. But they are being dwarfed by a population who have made up their minds to get a Samsung or Apple before they walk into a store.
"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
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