Just days after releasing disappointing Q1 estimates that could point to a difficult year ahead, Taiwanese Android handset make HTC has decided not to reveal future sales figures for its smartphones.
Digitimes reported that the ailing firm will keep it buttoned in future quarterly financial statements as of this month. The move may be due to increased market competition and sensitivity as well as the escalation in patent litigation which HTC and others have been sucked into recently.
HTC is being sued by once-famous camera maker Kodak in a US District Court. Meanwhile in an International Trade Commission court, it is involved in a messy legal dispute with German intellectual property company IPCom in several geographies and there are still issues to be resolved with old foe Apple.
Gartner senior research analyst and HTC watcher CK Lu told The Reg that withholding sales figures is getting more common in the industry because of “market and patent competitions”, but added that the legal angle may have swayed it for HTC.
“The conservative disclosure approach won’t help its sales but it might save on royalties and time in court,” he added.
Royalty payments in legal cases are usually calculated based on unit sales. HTC has certainly had good reason to hide its sales figures recently. On Monday it released disappointing fourth quarter results and Q1 2012 estimates that fell short of analyst expectations.
Despite claiming the figures were a “temporary phenomenon” and that it would get back on track after “product cycle transition”, HTC needs to make a big splash at Mobile World Congress and some standout products to reinvigorate itself.
It should be pointed out, of course, that sales figures can usually be estimated by analyst and research organisations anyway, with a little margin of error, to give an approximate picture of how well or badly a particular company is doing. ®