HTC has decided to take its most valuable asset, the Vive VR headset and the budding ecosystem developing around it, and turn it into a separate business. Reports earlier this week indicated that HTC was spinning off the Vive, but the company has now clarified for The Verge that it is only establishing a wholly-owned subsidiary, which it is calling HTC Vive Tech Corporation. HTC’s statement in full:
HTC can confirm that it has established a wholly-owned subsidiary, HTC Vive Tech Corporation, as a vehicle for developing strategic alliances to help build the global VR ecosystem.
Reading between the lines, what this says is that HTC’s overall reputation isn’t as good as that of the Vive headset, and the company wants to detach the ailing aspects of its business (i.e. everything else) from any potential Vive deals. If you’re a software developer or accessory manufacturer looking to sign a contract, you’re probably more inclined to do it with a company that’s exposed only to the risks and costs associated with the Vive’s performance and not one that also has to bear the burden of a troubled smartphone lineup.
At Mobile World Congress this year, I wrote enthusiastically about HTC’s chances to recover by tying its fortunes to the gloriously promising Vive VR headset, but evidently the realities of doing business make that difficult. Nothing material will change in the short term, as the Vive remains firmly within HTC’s control, but the fact is that the Taiwanese company’s most (only?) prized asset is now a separate company.