May was a mixed month for beleaguered HTC, which saw its best revenue of the year along with a number of key executive departures.
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Sales of the HTC One helped balance out an otherwise rough month for HTC. The smartphone maker recorded revenue of $971 million during May. Although that number is down 3.35% compared to the year-ago period, it is up 48% over April's revenue figures. HTC can thank brisk sales of the One, its new flagship smartphone, for the boost. HTC says it shipped more than five million units during the first month the One was available.
In the U.S., the One is being sold by AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile USA. On Monday, Verizon Wireless announced that it will also offer the device, later this summer. The One's arrival on Verizon Wireless will come months after its debut with Verizon's competitors. Verizon didn't offer a reason for the delay, but it likely has to do with the HTC Droid DNA, a device similar to the One that is already being sold by Verizon. Verizon might have been trying to give the DNA, which went on sale in late 2012, more time to sell. Either way, scoring a place on the shelves of the nation's largest wireless network operator is a much-needed win for HTC.
The One's early successes are tempered by a spate of departures at the company, including several executives.
HTC's chief operating officer Matthew Costello has stepped down after less than three years with the company, reports Bloomberg. Fred Liu, who serves as HTC's president of engineering and operations, has assumed Costello’s responsibilities. Liu's role has been expanded to cover quality, sales operations and services. Costello departed at the end of May. His departure follows a handful of others.
HTC's chief product officer, Kouji Kodera, left the company in the middle of May. Kodera's main responsibility was to oversee HTC's product strategy. Kodera's departure was oddly timed, considering that HTC recently launched its flagship device for the year. "Kouji Kodera has left HTC to pursue other interests," said HTC in a statement. "We appreciate his contributions and wish him all the best. Scott Croyle will take over his duties."
HTC also lost Jason Gordon, VP of global communications; John Starkweather, director of digital marketing; Eric Lin, product strategy manager; and Rebecca Rowland, global retail marketing manager.
HTC's Jason Mackenzie, president of global sales, downplayed the departures in a recent interview with AllThingsD. He said the "mass exodus has been way overblown. We've lost some key people; some were planned, some were not. But it's not masses of people."
HTC's fortunes have sagged over the last two years in the face of fierce competition from Samsung at the high end of the smartphone market, and Huawei and ZTE at the low end. HTC shares are down as much as 76% from two years ago. At the close of 2012, HTC owned 4.6% of the market, down from 10.3% the previous year. HTC hopes the One will reverse its slide, both in financially and in market share.
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