Oh yes I completely agree with you that stock android will not save the company. At this point, because of their sub-par marketing efforts compared to Samsung, the vast majority only want the iPhone or the “Galaxy Phone” (which I have also heard described several times as “The Android Phone”). What I am suggesting is that it couldn’t hurt them to since I don’t think Sense is helping them sell phones (and probably costing them quite a bit in operating expenses).
The fact that almost every review on the One can be characterized by “Beautiful…but” does not help HTC. If they are to redouble their marketing efforts it couldn’t hurt to take out the “but.” I wonder if it actually costs something to NOT put Sense on a phone.
As for the First, that is a phone with an identity crisis. To the masses it’s the Facebook phone that they don’t really understand and to the reviewers and posters it “could have been” a great Android phone save for the camera. The fact that all reviewers of the First described its ability to run stock Android as a major positive of the phone should be indication enough that it isn’t the dumbest thing HTC could do.
To sum up, I don’t really think it matters too much what HTC puts on their phones, but I also don’t think Sense has really helped them since stock Android itself became much cleaner and more cohesive.
When I look at HTC I see a company with brilliant people suffering from a huge lack of proper communication and what is probably a substantial amount of bureaucratic gridlock. They have arguably the most gorgeous Android phone on the market…and yet, instead of creating a phone that is a 100% hit with reviewers…they had to throw Sense in there to give everyone a “beautiful…but.” Is it really that hard to offer the phone with Sense and without it? Sure for 90% of phone purchasers it doesn’t matter, but the other truth of the matter is that 90% of those purchasers want the “Galaxy Phone” or the iPhone and the other 10% are the people they all ask for phone recommendations. Case in point is HTC teaming up with Facebook (stupid). NO FACEBOOKPHONEWILLEVER BE A HITFORANYONE. Yet a month later Google outs an S4 running stock Android (smart) which…while not necessarily a hit with the 90%, will probably be a hit with those of the 10% looking for a premium spec phone running pure Android. HTC builds great quality phones and then straps them with Sense so that software updates are rare to non-existent. HTC needs to keep making great phones, make Sense an option (or get rid of it altogether) and then bolster the positive reviews with an ambitious marketing campaign that is less “Me too” and more “Wow.”