While the excitement of CES has come over everyone this week, one firm is having to start 2013 off on a sour note. HTC has posted its worst profit numbers since 2004 as the company only generated only $34.5 million in profit in Q4 2012. It may be difficult to feel sorry for a company that’s still posting a profit, but the arrow has been pointing at a bit of a downward angle for a little while now.
HTC First started feeling pains back in late 2011 when the industry began to accelerate at an alarming rate. The company wasn’t in much trouble then, but Samsung had quickly become the “the one” in the Android space, and the allure of HTC’s brand was beginning to fade. To combat this, HTC’s One series was introduced in early 2012 and it looked to restore that sense of innovation that’s always been associated with the Taiwanese OEM.
Results weren’t expected to be better overnight, of course, but it seems HTC’s efforts only slowed the bleeding. HTC went from making $133 million in Q3 to this point, and this same quarter last year netted the company over $300 million. These trends are no doubt troubling, and if HTC doesn’t do anything to steal some thunder back from the now-unstoppable Samsung then the landscape of the smartphone industry will look drastically different by the time 2014 hits.
HTC’s DROID DNA wasn’t fully accountable in these numbers as the device launched in the middle of the quarter, but even if it does well I’m not sure HTC can survive on the performance of one phone. You also have to consider the presence of AT&T’s HTC One X+.
CEO Peter Chou has already conceded that the company isn’t in a great spot right now, but he hopes a planned surge of marketing will help restore brand awareness, image and excitability as it looks to climb back into a respectable position among the greats of the smartphone world.