HTC Sees Several Staff Departures As Struggle Continues


HTC has reportedly lost a number of its staff amid rumors that the struggling smartphone manufacturer is in “utter freefall.”

Chief Product Officer Kouji Kodera, who was responsible for HTC’s overall product strategy, reportedly left the Taiwanese company last week, while its vice president of global communications, Jason Gordon, is leaving at the end of this week.

HTC has also lost global retail marketing manager Rebecca Rowland, director of digital marketing John Starkweather, and product strategy manager Eric Lin in the past three months. So what’s going on?

Well, according to sources for The Verge, HTC isn’t a great place to work right now.

“Anyone who’s heard of them in Seattle doesn’t want to go work for them right now. They’re like T-Mobile two years ago,” one said. “They’re in utter freefall.”

It’s thought morale took a hit following the disappointing launch of the HTC First, the first smartphone to come with Facebook Home pre-installed, which has been struggling since it went on sale back in April.

AT&T has already had to slash the handset’s price from $99 to just 99 cents on contract, and one source for The Verge calls it “a disaster.”

It’s thought some of that failure is down to Facebook, which initially promised that Home would remain exclusive to the First for a certain period of time, then decided to make it downloadable through Google Play the same week the First went on sale.

HTC CEO Peter Chou is also being blamed for some of the company’s failings:

Several sources pointed to Chou — who has promised to step down if the flagship One isn’t a retail success — as a roadblock, making snap decisions in lieu of a long-term strategy. HTC staff are said to have alerted Chou months ahead of the One’s release of possible supply and manufacturing delays, but were told to push ahead anyway.

HTC has clearly been struggling in recent years, particularly since Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones have been selling so well and dominating the smartphone market.

The company just launched its impressive HTC One, which is hoping to put up a greater fight against Samsung’s latest flagships than its predecessors did, but some say it’s not quite as popular as anticipated.

Sources say the device has gotten of to a slow start, partly due to the initial supply constraints — though it is “gaining steam” now that those issues have been resolved.