The Android market is utterly cutthroat and ruthless, and if you don't have other, more profitable business units to fall back on, it can get rough. Taiwan's HTC is learning that the hard way. HTC is nothing but a handset maker, and its business has been effectively declared worthless.
HTC's market price has now fallen below the value of its own cash reserves of $1.4 billion in cash. Analysts and investors in Taiwan are declaring it all but dead.
"HTC's cash is the only asset of value to shareholders," analyst Calvin Huang of Sinopac Financial Holdings Co. in Taipei told Bloomberg. "Most of the other assets shouldn't be considered in their valuation because there's more write-offs to come and the brand has no value."
HTC has been under assault from both sides; Samsung has been pounding on it on the high end with the Galaxy line plus the Note phablet, for which HTC has no competitor, while it's also had to compete with LG's popular G3 and G4 line. Then it's faced competition on the low end from a bunch of Chinese startups, most notably Xioami.
However, HTC has also been its own enemy. The HTC One line was lauded when it launched, but the M9 is basically a rehash of the M8, which is a retread of the M7.
HTC has dabbled with the Windows Phone market as well as Android, but Windows Phone is just as dead in the water, and after Microsoft's massive write-down and reorganization of the group, many consider it a dead phone walking.
HTC's problem is that it just doesn't make anything else. Samsung can handle losses on the Galaxy because it has its hand in so many other markets, like PCs, peripherals, tablets, home entertainment, appliances and whatnot. HTC is purely a phone maker.
Earlier this year, PC maker ASUSTek expressed an interest in buying HTC, but HTC has steadfastly refused to even consider it. Now it may have no say in the matter, and ASUS might get HTC for a bargain.