Mon, Sep 10, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Morgan Stanley cautious on HTC

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp (宏達電) is unlikely to regain its market position with its new devices operating on the Windows Phone 8 (WP8) system, because of the company’s inability to differentiate its hardware, US brokerage Morgan Stanley said in a research note on Friday.

HTC is expected to launch its first devices running on Microsoft Corp’s WP8 on Sept. 19 in New York, as well as a Windows 8 tablet or a 5-inch Android smartphone.

Media suggested that HTC’s first WP8 smartphones may look similar to rival Samsung Electronics Co’s Atvi S, sporting 5-inch LCD displays, dual-core processors, integrated near field communication (NFC) technology and HSDPA/Wi-Fi wireless connectivity.

“In terms of hardware specifications, we think it will be difficult for HTC to regain share quickly aided by Windows 8-based smartphones, given less differentiation, except pricing,” said Jasmine Lu (呂智穎), a Hong Kong-based analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“We think the winning formula has shifted from technology to scale, marketing and branding,” she said in the note.

The opportunity for WP8, Lu said, lies in the US if wireless operators decide to more aggressively embrace WP8 as the third ecosystem, rather than the ones led by Google Inc and Apple Inc, to diversify their risks in view of the ongoing legal dispute between Apple and Samsung.

According to research firm Gartner Inc, Windows is expected to capture a 10.4 percent share of global smartphone operating systems next year, up from only 3.9 percent this year.

Furthermore, the share of Google’s Android operating system would slide from the dominant 60.3 percent this year to 57.9 percent next year, while Apple’s iOS would increase from 22 percent to 23.1 percent, Gartner forecast.

Meanwhile, HTC chairwoman Cher Wang (王雪紅) said on Saturday that she has faith her company will win the ongoing patent litigation against rival Apple.

On the sidelines of the APEC summit held in Vladivostok, Russia, Wang said she remains optimistic about HTC’s chances to win the lawsuit against Apple.

The comment came after Bloomberg reported on Friday that Apple may face difficulties in invalidating two HTC patents related to data transmission in wireless devices, citing a judge at the US International Trade Commission.

While Wang declined to comment on the specific case, as she said she was in Russia simply for the APEC summit, the chairwoman said: “I am always upbeat about the odds HTC holds in patent litigation.”

“I always have confidence in HTC,” Wang said.

When talking about HTC’s efforts to penetrate emerging markets like Russia, Wang said the company has grasped nearly 9 percent of the Russian smartphone market, up from 6 percent last year.

With great potential for growth in Russia, HTC is determined to raise its investments there, especially as the giant country is now a member of the World Trade Organization, she said.

Shares in HTC gained 3.15 percent on Friday to close at NT$262 in Taipei trading.

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