HTC bets on former Orange executive to boost sales

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HTC, the Taiwanese company that built the first mobile phones for Android and Windows, has hired a new boss.

Yves Maitre, of Orange, takes over from Cher Wang, to become HTC’s first chief executive who is not a co-founder.

It signalled HTC’s desire to “regain a foothold” in the smartphone market, Ben Wood, from CCS Insight, told BBC News.

It hit its peak share of the market in 2011, after partnering with Google on its Nexus handsets – but now, less than 1% of smartphones shipped are from HTC.

Increasing competition

“It’s no secret that HTC was once one of the biggest companies when it came to smartphones,” Mr Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, told BBC News.

“But it lost its way several years ago and has seen its market share decline.”

Subpar camera quality, as well as increasing competition from mainland China and Silicon Valley, in the US, meant the company had been claiming ever-smaller slices of the smartphone market, he said.

Meanwhile, HTC’s virtual reality headset, the Vive, held about 7% of the VR headset market share last quarter, according to the market intelligence firm IDC. It’s competing with devices such as Facebook’s Oculus, Sony’s PlayStation VR and Microsoft HoloLens.

But Mr Wood said the challenges Mr Maitre faced “should not be underestimated”.

“Not only is he going to be leading a business that needs to re-find its feet in the intensely competitive smartphone market, it’s also a company that’s betting big on VR [virtual reality], which is still an emerging technology,” he told BBC News.

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