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HTC's One delayed because suppliers think it's 'no longer a tier-one customer,' says WSJ (update)

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Gallery Photo: HTC One hands-on pictures
Gallery Photo: HTC One hands-on pictures

HTC One fans were disappointed to learn last week that the phone had been delayed to late March or early April. Now,The Wall Street Journal reports that the flagship meant to turn around HTC's performance is being hampered by its past defeats. "The company has a problem managing its component suppliers as it has changed its order forecasts drastically and frequently following last year's unexpected slump in shipments," says an unnamed executive. He and others blamed the One's delay on shortages, particularly of the metal casing and camera parts. "HTC has had difficulty in securing adequate camera components as it is no longer a tier-one customer."

Though the company released its flagship One X and DNA phones, as well as one of the first Windows Phone 8 handsets, in 2012, it hasn't been able to climb out of a slump that started in 2011. In the fourth quarter of 2012, it posted a meager $34.5 million in profit, compared to $133 million in the third quarter and $366 million in late 2011. While we were impressed with the new One, HTC appears to still be rebuilding an effective supply chain — and as it does, it's pushing dangerously close to the release window for Samsung's Galaxy S4.

Update: The Wall Street Journal is also reporting that HTC CEO Peter Chou could step down if the One fails to become a hit with consumers. Chou reportedly pledged to resign his post during a meeting with other senior executives at the company.