As HTC faces woes, Samsung’s rising earnings just go, go, go. Financial numbers for both smartphone makers in the third quarter came out on Friday with Samsung reporting an unofficial record $9.4 billion in operating profit, while HTC said it lost $101 million, according to Bloomberg.
The divergence is a stark contrast to just three years ago. Then, HTC was riding high on strong smartphone market share thanks to adopting Android early: It made the original G1 Android device. At that time, Samsung was just starting its Galaxy strategy: The first Galaxy handset, which I didn’t find impressive at the time, launched that year. Since then, Samsung has continued to improve its Galaxy flagships while also bringing the brand name to phones of every shape, size and price point. The strategy has been clear and consistent.
HTC on the other the hand, has wandered a bit since 2010, trying different approaches. It invested millions in Beats Audio, only to recently divest that, created a mediocre Android tablet and more recently has enlisted Robert Downey, Jr. to help promote the line. Unfortunately, Iron Man has his work cut out for him as HTC’s market share continues to shrink around the world.
Can the brand be saved? Perhaps, but now that the company is losing money, it becomes even more of a challenge. Microsoft’s proposal to also include Windows Phone on HTC Android handsets won’t likely make a difference: That’s more of a gimmick than strategy to me. HTC’s best bet may come from a laser-focused effort on China; the world’s biggest market. If the company can make strong gains there before its peers, it could stand next to Iron Man and live to fight another day.