Google is taking a team from HTC that developed the Pixel smartphone, and getting access to HTC intellectual property, in exchange for $1.1 billion.
The money could help HTC push its VR efforts into next steps, which likely includes a future generation of its HTC Vive PC-powered VR system as well as a coming standalone headset that works with Google’s Worldsense tracking technology. The money will also be used to aid HTC’s smartphone business.
“This agreement with Google allows HTC to continue to innovate across the organization and develop cutting edge products,” HTC spokesperson Patrick Seybold said. “We’re not only supporting our branded smartphone business by enabling a more streamlined product portfolio and providing greater operational efficiency and financial flexibility, but also investing further in next-generation technologies, including VR, AR and AI. This enables us to continue building out the virtual reality ecosystem to grow the Vive business, and to focus on new business opportunities.”
The agreement, which is expected to close early in 2018, puts to rest rumors suggesting a deal was in the works. HTC continues to develop its “next flagship phone” and will “continue to build the virtual reality ecosystem to grow its Vive business,” according to a press release. HTC is giving Google a “non-exclusive” license to HTC intellectual property as part of the deal.
“Certain HTC employees – many of whom are already working with Google to develop Pixel smartphones – will join Google,” the release said.
Google is expected to reveal its next steps in VR, and the Pixel smartphone line, at an event on Oct. 4.