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Report: Google in "final stage" of a deal for HTC's smartphone unit

HTC's flagship U11 smartphone is struggling financially, despite some stellar reviews. The latest monthly numbers for the Taiwanese company show a 51% decline in smartphone sales in August over its July sales figures. The dismal performance gives credence to a new report that Google is in the "final stage" of negotiations to either buy HTC's smartphone division or become a strategic partner in the endeavor.

The report, from Chinese publication Commercial Times via DigiTimes, says that demand for the U11 hit its peak in July, forcing shipments to fall off substantially the following month. HTC has also had several sales on its U11 to try to boost interest. The company reportedly did say it was still positive about its smartphone business for the third quarter of 2017. Overall, for the first eight months of the year, smartphone sales are down 14.4% from the same period last year.

Google is apparently weighing a decision whether to partner with HTC or actually add the division to its growing business. HTC is already working on one of the next Google Pixel handsets, so the two companies have a working relationship. The report clarified that any deal would not include HTC's VR unit, or the entire company itself.

While no other details are available on the proposed sale or partnership, this does support a Bloomberg report from last month claiming that HTC was studying "strategic options" to bolster the company's bottom line.

The move, if it happens, could be a boost to Google's attempt to compete with the likes of Samsung and Apple in the ever competitive handheld electronics field. Google did purchase Motorola Mobility back in 2012, but sold off most of the division to Lenovo more than a year and a half later, while retaining the patents and R&D unit.

As yet, this is still just a rumor, but one that provides interesting possibilities for Google, and some financial relief for HTC.

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