Well, it’s (almost) official. Several HTC execs confirmed to WSJ that company is facing severe camera component shortages, and is delaying the shipment of its new One flagship worldwide.
We’ve first learned about HTC One delay in the U.K. last week. But there was some hope that in other countries flagship device will arrive on time. Now Best Buy tells us that they planned to start selling HTC One this week, but had to push back the launch date.
Official line from HTC? “We will start fulfilling pre-orders by the end of March in certain markets, will roll out to new markets sometime in April”.
The main reason for problems with component supply is the damage HTC’s reputation incurred due to the last year’s slump. As sales started dropping fast, HTC’s 2012 component demand forecasts flew out the window. They had to drastically reduce orders several times, which cost them the first tier client status with many supply partners. Now that HTC has a really hot phone on their hands, they can’t convince suppliers to make enough components fast enough to meet the exploding demand. Some partners in the supply chain simply don’t have enough spare capacity for HTC, and prefer to fulfill orders from more reliable customers first.
To add to HTC’s problems – their employees are getting restless. Company cut the year end bonus for the first time in company history, and sharply reduced paid overtime for R&D staff. But it still requires the long hours even without additional pay. With mainland China rivals like Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo rapidly scaling up their smartphone efforts, and the growing tablet ambitions of Acer and Asustek – keeping the highly qualified engineers staying put, working longer for less, is getting harder.
HTC is in a real bind now. After a few years of mistakes, they finally managed to create the product that is better than anything any rival can offer soon. Now the whole company’s fate may depend on whether they manage to make enough of HTC One’s before Samsung’s Galaxy S4 launches. And then on whether their marketing plan for the rest of the year can stand up to the billions Samsung will throw to push their own 2013 flagship.
The sales&marketing head – Jason Mackenzie , who’s efforts with last year’s One series were buried by Sammy’s marketing machine, must have learned something from the experience. Plus, with newly appointed Chief Marketing Officer Benjamin Ho, Mackinzie can concentrate on global sales. So this shouldn’t be 2012 all over again.
Especially since HTC CEO’s fate really hangs in the balance. According to WSJ, Peter Chou told senior executives that he will step down from CEO position if HTC One does not succeed.
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
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