HTC has become a major player in the world’s smartphone market by offering devices using Windows Mobile and Android, operating systems licensed from other companies. Now HTC is considering the idea of releasing models with its own OS.
Cheng Hui-ming, HTC’s chief financial officer, discussed the possibility in an interview with Bloomberg. “We continue to assess, but that requires a few conditions to justify.” However, he did not provide further details on what conditions would be required.
A Major Change in Strategy
HTC never focused on software. Rather, it developed hardware and then used software licensed from Microsoft and later Google. Building an operating system would be a significant change in an effective strategy that has been in place for years.
Still, many of HTC’s top rivals have successfully offered smartphones using proprietary operating systems, like Apple and the iPhone OS or RIM and the BlackBerry OS. On the other hand, Palm has been struggling with its own webOS.
A Shift at Microsoft
As mentioned earlier, HTC built its business making smartphones running Microsoft’s Windows Mobile. In recent years, much of its success has come from replacing Microsoft’s standard user interface with its own, which allowed HTC to differentiate its products from other companies releasing Windows Mobile devices.
But the mobile landscape is changing. With its next operating system for smartphones, Windows Phone 7, Microsoft will not allow HTC to layer its user interface on top of the standard one. This is going to make it harder for a smaller company like HTC to compete against larger ones like Samsung, which will also be releasing models running the new OS.
HTC could be considering replacing its Windows Phone line with models running its own operating system.
A Match Made in Smartphone Heaven?
Palm’s difficulties have reportedly reached the point where the company is looking for a buyer. At the same time, HTC is considering getting it’s own operating system. Palm’s webOS is considered to be very good, but it has lackluster hardware. HTC, on the other hand, is often praised for its hardware.
It’s possible the two companies could come together.