HTC Corp. is exploring strategic options that could lead to the sale of its Vive virtual reality business and perhaps the full company, which is also a leading smartphone maker, Bloomberg reported last week.
Taiwan-based HTC has held talks with Google and is working an adviser as it thinks about bringing in a strategic investor, Bloomberg said, citing people familiar with the situation.
Google owns the Android operating system for mobile devices and sells its own smartphones, including the new Pixel.
Google is also entrenched in the VR sector with its original Cardboard viewers and its newer platform, Daydream, a mobile-connected headset that went on sale last November.
In May, Google said HTC and Lenovo were the first two companies to jump in to build a next-gen standalone VR headset that would run on Daydream.
Higher-end, PC-connected VR headsets such as the Vive have struggled to gain consumer traction.
The Oculus-powered Samsung Gear VR headset, which combines with compatible smartphones, kept its lead through Q1 2017, according to data released by SuperData in May. That platform remained well ahead of the PlayStation VR, which links to PS 4 consoles, Google Daydream mobile VR headsets, the HTC Vive, and the Oculus Rift, SuperData said at the time.
HTC started to sell the Vive early last year for $799, and recently cut the price to $599.
Palmer Luckey, the Oculus co-founder who left Facebook earlier this year, tweeted a poll on August 25 asking if he should try to buy part or all of Vive. As of mid-day Monday, 56% voted that he should buy the whole company.
Should I buy HTC Vive?
— Palmer Luckey (@PalmerLuckey) August 25, 2017
It’s unclear if Luckey is serious about Vive’s VR technology or just trying to illicit a reaction. He posted a similar poll when social VR pioneer AltSpace VR announced it was shutting down after a new round of funding fell through (the service has since been revived).