Wed, Apr 14, 2010 - Page 11 News List

HTC considers having its own smartphone software

By Tim Culpan  /  BLOOMBERG

HTC Corp (宏達電), the nation’s largest mobile-phone maker, is studying whether to equip phones with its own operating system, a move that may intensify competition with Google Inc and Microsoft Corp.

“We continue to assess, but that requires a few conditions to justify” having our own system, chief financial officer Cheng Hui-ming (鄭慧明) said yesterday.

The Taoyuan-based company’s own operating system would enable it to reduce its reliance on outside developers. HTC, which designs and produces phones using Google and Microsoft software, is among possible bidders for Palm Inc, three people familiar with the situation said this month.

“If you look at the successful smartphone players, like Apple and Research in Motion, a reason for their success is that they have their own platform,” said Steven Tseng (曾緒良), who rates HTC “buy” at RBS Asia Ltd in Taipei and favors the company having its own operating system in the long term. “The negative is the amount of resources they’d need to allocate.”

Cheng declined to comment on whether HTC has studied Palm for possible acquisition. HTC has no timeframe for deciding whether to have its own platform, he said.

“There are many multiple factors to be considered together, rather than a simple statement as to own or not to own” proprietary software, Cheng said.

HTC declined 1.4 percent to close at NT$389 in local trading yesterday.

Palm is working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Frank Quattrone’s Qatalyst Partners to find a buyer possibly as early as this week, according to the people familiar with the matter. They declined to be identified because a sale hasn’t been announced.

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