Despite all the glowing reviews of the HTC One, including all the reviews for the Samsung Galaxy S IV that ended up championing all the great things about the HTC One instead, HTC is currently falling apart — at least in part because of "disastrous" sales that wiped the HTC First (aka the Facebook phone) on its way out of the market. Two top executives have quit amid the company's decline: HTC's chief product officer, Kouji Kodera, left last week, sources tell The Verge's Chris Ziegler, while HTC Asia CEO Lennard Hoornik has also left, reports CNET. And those are just the most recent departures as employees have hurled themselves off the sinking ship in the last few months. "They're in utter freefall," an anonymous source told Ziegler.
That's because HTC hasn't had a hit since 2011. After a year of poor sales, the once-popular Taiwanese smartphone competitor needed something like the One to lift it out of a bad year. The phone should have been good enough to do that, given all the laudatory praise. But it didn't: Sales of the device, which debuted in mid-April, started off slow, sources tell Ziegler — and that was a worse outlook than earlier reports, which had the One "selling well," but not as well as its biggest competition, Samsung's Galaxy S IV. One source attributes the lag to "supply issues," which had to do with internal disorganization. But even if they get on track, HTC might be too late to fix this mess. The Samsung Galaxy S IV has already captured a lot of that high-end, non-iPhone smartphone market, getting Consumer Reports' top pick and selling 10 million devices in less than a month. (The Galaxy S III took 50 days to hit the same mark.)
Unfortunately, the One's decent sales are the better part of the news for HTC. The Facebook phone's complete failure has only made things worse. One of Ziegler's sources called it an internal "disaster," which pretty much mimics its performance in the outside world. After a little over a month, the company discontinued the HTC First, despite the hype of a Facebook partnership, straight from Mark Zuckerberg himself. Things only look to get worse from here: HTC CEO Peter Chou told other senior executives he would step down if the One failed, sources told The Wall Street Journal's Lorraine Luk. At this point, it remains unclear if that bigger, better phone is a failure, per se, but it's definitely not the type of huge and huger success that HTC really needs.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.