HTC, in a bid to set itself apart from the smartphone pack and regain some of its luster, said that as part of a new program it will give U.S. customers who purchase any of its HTC One family of smartphones a free one-time screen replacement for cracked screens within the first six months of owning the device.
Smartphone maker HTC said it will return to making less expensive smartphones in an effort to shore up its shrinking revenues. The announcement comes about a year after the company first announced its high-end, flagship One smartphone, which was relatively well received but failed to ignite sales at the Taiwanese vendor.
HTC is hoping that a successor to its flagship One smartphone, better marketing and its first entry into the wearable computing market will lift its fortunes and deliver a turnaround in 2014 that was supposed to have materialized last year but never truly did.
Struggling smartphone maker HTC eked out a net profit in its most recent quarter, but the company posted its second straight operating loss as higher production costs and falling sales pushed it into the red.
HTC said that current CFO Chialin Chang will also serve as global head of sales for the time being as the Taiwanese smartphone maker works to reverse sales declines and spark a turnaround.
HTC Chairwoman and co-founder Cher Wang has taken over some of the day-to-day duties of CEO Peter Chou so he can focus more on products, in what is being positioned as a temporary move to help the struggling smartphone maker right the ship.
HTC Chairwoman Cher Wang said the next two months are the company's "biggest challenge" as it moves into the holiday shopping season and tries to reverse its sales slump amid tougher competition from Apple's iPhone 5s and 5c, Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Note 3 and other holiday offerings.
HTC reported its first quarterly loss since it became a public company in 2002, as it had warned it might, underscoring the challenges the company faces as it continues to try to turn around sales in a smartphone market that has squeezed its market share.
HTC confirmed that it laid off workers at its U.S. unit on Friday. The job cuts come as the smartphone maker continues to struggle in its turnaround efforts.
HTC CEO Peter Chou has said he has no plans to step down and the company is making progress in turning around sales through its flagship One smartphone and its variants. However, a portrait painted by an in-depth profile of Chou by Reuters indicates that insiders in the company view Chou as an obstacle to a revival in the struggling company's fortunes.