August 25, 2017 // 11:08 a.m.
HTC may be looking to sell off its virtual reality division following the company's continued poor financial performance, a report has claimed.
That HTC's smartphone arm isn't doing well is no secret: with a market share below two percent, the company has struggled to find buyers for its Android devices. In May 2016 the company warned of a 64 percent drop in revenue leading to a £102 million quarterly loss. Since then, the company has been concentrating heavily on its Vive virtual reality platform: in addition to the April 2016 launch of the Vive X accelerator programme, the company has launched a VR-focused venture capital alliance, partnered with OEMs to build Vive-ready gaming PCs, invested in gaming companies, developed a wireless upgrade kit for the headset, opened a VR-exclusive games studio, promised to launch a mobile virtual reality platform, and even partnered on the upcoming Ready Player One film adapted from the book by Ernest Cline.
Anonymous sources 'familiar with the matter' are now telling Bloomberg that HTC is 'working with an adviser as it considers bringing in a strategic investor, selling its Vive virtual reality headset business, or spinning off the unit.' While a move to sell the division may seem confusing, given HTC's focus of late, it could be an attempt to save it: If HTC as a whole continues to make a loss on the smartphone market, its debts could drag the Vive down with the sinking ship.
HTC has already been working to stem its losses and refocus its efforts away from the loss-making smartphone market, having sold its smartphone and tablet manufacturing plant earlier this year in a £73.4 million deal which leaves it dependent on third-party facilities for production. Recent price pressure from rival Oculus Rift, owned by social networking giant Facebook, has also led to a major price drop for the Vive hardware bundle.
HTC has declined to comment on the rumours.