HTC’s struggles in the face of declining handset sales and greater market forces continues, as it has now confirmed that it will shut down its South Korean operations, following its exit from the Brazilian market and the closure of an R&D office in North Carolina in the same research park that housed Sony Ericsson in the past two months.
HTC also reduced the level of investment it previously made into Beats Electronics by 25%, the audio solutions company founded by former record exec Jimmy Iovine and hip-hop impresario Andre “Dr. Dre” Young which led to the integration of the firm’s audio DSP technology into its current One series of smartphones and related variants.
The moves come as the company is continuing to struggle with shrinking sales volume as it scales back its lineup with the One series, which is meant to simplify handset selection for both carriers and consumers after years of constant handset releases that constantly overlapped each other and had the effects of cannibalizing sales potential as well as causing confusion over which phones were low, mid-range and high-end models.
More recently in the US, HTC’s One X received a drastic price drop beginning yesterday that saw it go from $199.99 to $99.99 just three months after the phone’s initial launch on AT&T, with the phone facing stiff competition from Samsung’s own Galaxy S III which is currently breaking previous sales records.
Time will tell whether HTC will be able to recover from its current slide as Samsung and Apple continue to fight each other for supremacy in the marketplace and in the courtroom, while the rest of the Android OEM’s and the industry itself is left to fight over the remaining marketshare, with decreasing sales opportunities by the day. The sudden change in fortunes for HTC also underscores how quickly the marketplace can change in 18 months, as the company was registering growth in sales and profits quarter after quarter in the previous year.