SAN FRANCISCO — Google announced late Wednesday night that it is spending $1.1 billion to hire a team of employees from the struggling Taiwanese manufacturer HTC’s smartphone business in a bid to bring more hardware expertise to its own mobile technology operations.
Google said many of those HTC employees are already working with the search giant on smartphones. Google is relying on HTC to manufacture the next version of its Pixel phone, which is expected to be announced on Oct. 4.
As part of the agreement, Google will also secure a nonexclusive licensing deal for some of HTC’s intellectual property. HTC will continue to make smartphones, although it plans to streamline its portfolio.
The deal indicates that Google is willing to spend heavily again to secure hardware talent to help design phones that run its Android software. The company abandoned previous plans to own a smartphone manufacturer when it sold Motorola to China’s Lenovo Group for $2.9 billion in 2014, less than three years after acquiring the handset business for $12.5 billion.