All posts in “Business”

HTC will reportedly discuss Google acquisition at ‘town hall’ on Thursday

Why it matters to you

If Google buys HTC’s smartphone business, we could see more Pixel phones, and fewer HTC ones.

Google is reportedly in talks to buy HTC’s smartphone business. Rumors have been spreading about a possible deal since the beginning of September, but neither company has officially commented yet. Does this mean the rumors are false? Only time will tell; but for now here is all the news and key rumor reports regarding Google buying HTC’s smartphone division.

Leaked memo about internal acquisition meeting

The newest rumor regarding the pending acquisition comes from known leaker Evan Blass, who posted about an “internal invitation” to an HTC employee meeting. One topic on the docket? An acquisition by Google.

Blass went onto say that Google will acquire HTC’s hardware and engineering assets, but that HTC will retain its brand.

Stock trading to halt on September 21

News began after a report was published by the Commercial Times, in which it was stated Google and HTC were in the final stages of discussions that could ultimately lead to Google buying out HTC’s smartphone business. It’s important to note that Google won’t buy HTC as a whole — just its smartphone business. While nothing was officially said at the time, HTC did publish a response to it on its website, stating only that it doesn’t comment on rumors and speculation.

On September 20, adding more fuel to the fire that something is happening at HTC, the Taiwan Stock Exchange announced trading in HTC shares would halt on September 21, ahead of an unknown, “release of material information.” Following this, HTC, “will apply for resumption of trading,” the brief report continued. The term material information is associated with news or details revealed to the public that may change a company’s value. It’s possible this is related to the current rumors surrounding an acquisition by Google, but it’s not certain.

Impact for Google and HTC

What will happen if Google acquires HTC’s smartphone business? The original rumor report said the HTC brand will still live on, but that the company may refocus its attention on virtual reality after selling off its mobile arm. HTC produces the successful HTC Vive headset, and is rumored to be working on a new stand-alone headset with Qualcomm.

Under Google’s control, it’s possible the HTC mobile team will end up simply developing more Pixel phones, and the HTC name as a smartphone brand will die out. If that happens, we should expect more than one Pixel-branded phone each year. It’s also possible that at least in the short-term, HTC-branded smartphones will continue to be released.

This isn’t the first time Google has made such a purchase. The company bought out Motorola back in 2012 for a whopping $12.5 billion, and at the time it was suspected that the company could end up merging the Android and Motorola teams. In the end, that didn’t happen — and instead, a few years later, Google sold the Motorola brand to Lenovo.

This time around, however, things could be different. Google has been shifting its focus of late, and could now accurately be considered a consumer electronics brand, due to the launch of the Pixel phones, Google Home smart speaker, Google Wi-Fi router, and other products. HTC may also be keen to find a buyer for its smartphone business. According to reports from DigiTimes, HTC’s August 2017 revenue hit a 13-year low.

Google’s acquisition of HTC is still rumor, but official news may come swiftly, and we’ll keep you updated here.

Update: Added rumors of HTC all-hands meeting where Google acquisition will reportedly be discussed. 

HTC stock trading to halt on Thursday ahead of key company announcement

Why it matters to you

If Google buys HTC’s smartphone business, we could see more Pixel phones, and fewer HTC ones.

Google is reportedly in talks to buy HTC’s smartphone business. Rumors have been spreading about a possible deal since the beginning of September, but neither company has officially commented yet. Does this mean the rumors are false? Only time will tell; but for now here is all the news and key rumor reports regarding Google buying HTC’s smartphone division.

Stock trading to halt on September 21

News began after a report was published by the Commercial Times, in which it was stated Google and HTC were in the final stages of discussions that could ultimately lead to Google buying out HTC’s smartphone business. It’s important to note that Google won’t buy HTC as a whole — just its smartphone business. While nothing was officially said at the time, HTC did publish a response to it on its website, stating only that it doesn’t comment on rumors and speculation.

On September 20, adding more fuel to the fire that something is happening at HTC, the Taiwan Stock Exchange announced trading in HTC shares would halt on September 21, ahead of an unknown, “release of material information.” Following this, HTC, “will apply for resumption of trading,” the brief report continued. The term material information is associated with news or details revealed to the public that may change a company’s value. It’s possible this is related to the current rumors surrounding an acquisition by Google, but it’s not certain.

Impact for Google and HTC

What will happen if Google acquires HTC’s smartphone business? The original rumor report said the HTC brand will still live on, but that the company may refocus its attention on virtual reality after selling off its mobile arm. HTC produces the successful HTC Vive headset, and is rumored to be working on a new standalone headset with Qualcomm.

Under Google’s control, it’s possible the HTC mobile team will end up simply developing more Pixel phones, and the HTC name as a smartphone brand will die out. If that happens, we should expect more than one Pixel-branded phone each year. It’s also possible that at least in the short-term, HTC-branded smartphones will continue to be released.

This isn’t the first time Google has made such a purchase. The company bought out Motorola back in 2012 for a whopping $12.5 billion, and at the time it was suspected that the company could end up merging the Android and Motorola teams. In the end, that didn’t happen — and instead, a few years later, Google sold the Motorola brand to Lenovo.

This time around, however, things could be different. Google has been shifting its focus of late, and could now accurately be considered a consumer electronics brand, due to the launch of the Pixel phones, Google Home smart speaker, Google Wi-Fi router, and other products. HTC may also be keen to find a buyer for its smartphone business. According to reports from DigiTimes, HTC’s August 2017 revenue hit a 13-year low.

Google’s acquisition of HTC is still rumor, but official news may come swiftly, and we’ll keep you updated here.

Update: HTC’s stocks on the Taiwanese Stock Exchange will halt on September 21, ahead of a news announcement.

HTC stock trading to halt on September 21, ahead of key company announcement

Why it matters to you

If Google buys HTC’s smartphone business, we could see more Pixel phones, and fewer HTC ones.

Google is reportedly in talks to buy HTC’s smartphone business. Rumors have been spreading about a possible deal since the beginning of September, but neither company has officially commented yet. Does this mean the rumors are false? Only time will tell; but for now here is all the news and key rumor reports regarding Google buying HTC’s smartphone division.

Stock trading to halt on September 21

News began after a report was published by the Commercial Times, in which it was stated Google and HTC were in the final stages of discussions that could ultimately lead to Google buying out HTC’s smartphone business. It’s important to note that Google won’t buy HTC as a whole — just its smartphone business. While nothing was officially said at the time, HTC did publish a response to it on its website, stating only that it doesn’t comment on rumors and speculation.

On September 20, adding more fuel to the fire that something is happening at HTC, the Taiwan Stock Exchange announced trading in HTC shares would halt on September 21, ahead of an unknown, “release of material information.” Following this, HTC, “will apply for resumption of trading,” the brief report continued. The term material information is associated with news or details revealed to the public that may change a company’s value. It’s possible this is related to the current rumors surrounding an acquisition by Google, but it’s not certain.

Impact for Google and HTC

What will happen if Google acquires HTC’s smartphone business? The original rumor report said the HTC brand will still live on, but that the company may refocus its attention on virtual reality after selling off its mobile arm. HTC produces the successful HTC Vive headset, and is rumored to be working on a new standalone headset with Qualcomm.

Under Google’s control, it’s possible the HTC mobile team will end up simply developing more Pixel phones, and the HTC name as a smartphone brand will die out. If that happens, we should expect more than one Pixel-branded phone each year. It’s also possible that at least in the short-term, HTC-branded smartphones will continue to be released.

This isn’t the first time Google has made such a purchase. The company bought out Motorola back in 2012 for a whopping $12.5 billion, and at the time it was suspected that the company could end up merging the Android and Motorola teams. In the end, that didn’t happen — and instead, a few years later, Google sold the Motorola brand to Lenovo.

This time around, however, things could be different. Google has been shifting its focus of late, and could now accurately be considered a consumer electronics brand, due to the launch of the Pixel phones, Google Home smart speaker, Google Wi-Fi router, and other products. HTC may also be keen to find a buyer for its smartphone business. According to reports from DigiTimes, HTC’s August 2017 revenue hit a 13-year low.

Google’s acquisition of HTC is still rumor, but official news may come swiftly, and we’ll keep you updated here.

Update: HTC’s stocks on the Taiwanese Stock Exchange will halt on September 21, ahead of a news announcement.

Need to return an Amazon order? Just drop it off at Kohl’s

Why it matters to you

If you live near a Kohl’s location, dropping off an Amazon item may be simpler than packing up your return and scheduling a pickup.

Initially launching in 82 retail locations within Chicago and Los Angeles, Kohl’s will soon accept and process returns of products purchased by Amazon.com customers. Starting during October, Kohl’s will pack and ship these items to Amazon return centers for no additional cost to customers.

Speaking about the free service, Kohl’s Chief Administrative Officer Richard Schepp said “We are thrilled to launch this unprecedented and innovative concept, allowing customers to bring in their unpackaged Amazon returns to Kohl’s and we will pack them, ship them, and return them to Amazon for free. This is a great example of how Kohl’s and Amazon are leveraging each other’s strengths.”

In addition to packaging items for free, the brick and mortar retailer will be creating “designated parking spots” for customers dropping off an Amazon return. These spots will likely be located near the entrance of the store. Kohl’s hasn’t released specific details on how returns will be inventoried, but it’s likely an Amazon customer will receive some form of receipt when products are dropped off at Kohl’s retail locations.

Assuming this test run is successful, Amazon and Kohl’s could expand the service out to all 1,100+ retail locations across the United States. In addition, Amazon could bring the core framework of this service to the online retailer’s most recent acquisition, Whole Foods. Hypothetically, Amazon could setup a return center within Whole Foods to process all online order returns.

Of course, this isn’t the first mention of the working partnership between Amazon and Kohl’s. Earlier this month, Kohl’s announced that an “Amazon smart home experience” would be created within ten stores in Chicago and Los Angeles. Kohl’s customers will be able to test products like the various Amazon Echo devices, Fire TV set-top box as well as Fire tablets.

Essentially, customers will be able to experience what the Alexa voice-controlled ecosystem has to offer prior to making a purchase. In addition, customers can request that an Amazon associate visit their home in order to recommend products as well as install those smart products within their home.

New Mobile App Promises Full B2B E-Commerce Experience

Insite Software on Tuesday released the InsiteCommerce Mobile App, describing it as the first fully configurable white label mobile app built for leading manufacturers and distributors.

New Mobile App Promises Full B2B E-Commerce Experience

The app supports everyone involved in the B2B e-commerce experience, Insite said — from customers to channel partners, to field sales and support teams.

Companies purchasing the app can tailor its functions to specific roles and responsibilities by delivering customer-specific product catalog and data, pricing and product recommendations, and order and reorder capabilities.

“There’s a combination of customizations and configurations driven by a single instance of the InsiteCommerce Admin Console across Web and mobile apps,” said Karie Daudt, VP of marketing and customer experience at Insite.

“We customize the color scheme, icons and certain images in each build of a private labeled application to suit the branding standards of each customer,” she told CRM Buyer.

InsiteCommerce mobile

Private labeling of each application is done internally, and “doesn’t require any code customization or additional implementation effort for our customers,” Daudt said.

The app includes a biometric login capability, customizable alerts, bar code scanning, GPS capabilities, speech-to-text and enhanced security.

Among the app’s prebuilt features are product catalog search, order status check, and the ability to add items to a cart and check out.

The app is available for iOS and Android.

Integration, Integration, Integration

The InsiteCommerce Mobile App works with Insite Software’s e-commerce platform, which integrates with leading enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and Web content management systems.

It automatically builds experience based on a business’ existing InsiteCommerce instance.

“Any new customer can extend their reach with a native mobile solution when they roll out an InsiteCommerce system,” Daudt remarked.

Companies with a mobile-first implementation strategy can “focus on implementing a light version of the branded mobile application first, then execute a more complete integration of e-commerce, including integration with their ERP and other core business functions,” she said.

Insite partners with each client to manage and deploy its apps to the iOS and Google Play app stores, Daudt noted.

“This lets our customers maintain their branding standards and achieve app store presence while still complying with Apple’s rigorous approval standards.”

Use Cases

Manufacturers or distributors who want to improve their customer experience and better enable their direct and channel teams to serve the customer would benefit from the InsiteCommerce Mobile App, Daudt said.

“For B2B companies, much of their customer and team experience is in the field, out at a job site, or traveling through a sales territory,” she noted. “They need key data available to them and easy to use in their moment of relevance, across any mobile device.”

Among the possible use cases for the Insite Mobile App, according to Daudt, are the following:

  • Direct sales reps in the field needing to look up end-customer order or delivery details or other information, or place an order on a customer’s behalf;
  • Direct service technicians in the field needing to look up a detailed product tech spec or order a replacement part; and
  • Direct shipping clerks or delivery drivers taking a picture of a shipment at the outbound dock or upon delivery to the customer, and attaching it to the order as proof of delivery.

The InsiteCommerce Mobile App “may be attractive for existing Insite customers,” said Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research.

However, “I don’t see a broader reach than that,” she told CRM Buyer. “Unless I’m a frequent purchaser from a vendor, I’m unlikely to download their app.”


Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology.
Email Richard.