HTC's revenue slide continues as Q4 ends with December thud

HTC's December sales took a big hit, but the fourth quarter was in line with lowered expectations. Where does HTC go from here?

HTC reported another dreadful quarterly revenue decline compared to a year ago, but the company's sales were within its lowered forecast.

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The smartphone maker, which in the fourth quarter launched an ad campaign with Robert Downey Jr. and an Iron Man theme, took a big hit in December as sales fell 42.46 percent from the same month a year ago. HTC's sales also collapsed sequentially in December.

HTC said its fourth quarter revenue was NT$42.89 billion, a sum that was in line with guidance given in the third quarter. The company reported an operating loss of NT$1.56 billion, but profit of NT$0.31 billion after tax. Earnings per share in the fourth quarter landed at NT$0.38, but got a boost primarily from the sale of Beats Electronics back to Dr. Dre.

While those results were telegraphed after a rough third quarter, the larger question is where does HTC go from here. HTC had hoped that Downey and the HTC One Max would boost sales. Perhaps CES 2014 sheds some light on HTC's strategy, but the company is dangerously close to falling out of the smartphone conversation.

HTC released its news outside of normal business hours in Taiwan and a cynic (I'm guilty as charged) would say the company was trying to clear its decks and hope no one noticed ahead of CES. 

This monthly sales history isn't screaming momentum:

htcmonthly 2013


HTC's ad campaign revolved around a "here's to change" theme, but the smartphone maker's One franchise just isn't moving enough units. HTC will need further change and one move may be to go back to being a white-box manufacturer of devices.