It’s no secret that the HTC ship is sinking, but the smartphone maker could be about to expire faster than we realized if the rate at which executives are abandoning ship is any indication of the company’s future.
In the past three months Jason Gordon, HTC’s vice president of global communications, Rebecca Rowland, global retail marketing manager, John Starkweather, director of digital marketing and Eric Lin, product strategy manager, have all left the company. And now we have a new casualty – HTC’s Chief Product Officer Kouji Kodera, responsible for the company’s overall product strategy, who bailed out last week.
Why are people leaving HTC? Are the working conditions as bad as how Lin portrayed them in his tweet at the time:
“To all my friends still at @HTC – just quit. leave now. it’s tough to do, but you’ll be so much happier, I swear.”
Or is it because of CMO Ben Ho’s plans to uproot the Seattle team back to its Taipei headquarters?
Others are pointing the finger at Peter Chou, HTC’s co-founder and longtime CEO, who made some snap decisions that affected the company’s future. According to sources, production staff have notified the CEO of issues such as not having enough supplies, and manufacturing delays, only to be ordered to push ahead with the HTC One’s release anyway. Though many were interested in purchasing its flagship device, consumers were left disappointed with shipment delays and out of stock units. Now, HTC employees are banking on Chou’s previous declaration of stepping down if the HTC One is not a hit, since he’s to blame for the supply issues.
Then again, could it be that the issue is bigger than HTC and involves a certain social networking giant?
According to some, the HTC First – the so-called Facebook phone that was announced back in April – is doing pretty badly in the market, since it was not given ample time to bask in the Facebook Home limelight. Facebook allegedly agreed to delay the launch of the downloadable version of Facebook Home to give the First a head start, only to go back on its word and release Home on Google Play the same week HTC launched First. If Facebook delayed the release of its Android launcher then clearly HTC would have benefited, as anyone who wanted to try Home would have bought an HTC First.
The only good thing to come of the early Home release is that people didn’t have to buy a phone to determine how bad the Android launcher is. While a large number of users download the app, it received tons of bad reviews.
Another nail in HTC’s coffin is that Samsung Galaxy SIV if off to a great start and even worse, Samsung seems to have an abundant supply of them for its takers. Though the One is getting traction, it’s looking a lot less likely it’ll be able to catch up…
As one source puts it, “They’re in utter freefall.”