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Sprint Product Ambassadors: The People of HTC - Peter Chou

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Sprint Product Ambassador

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Here in the Product Ambassador team we like to talk a lot about devices.  They're fun, cool and exciting and really the reason why our team started in the first place; Corporate Communications and Product Marketing found that the #1 thing that readers cared about was gadgets, and thus, the PA team was born.

But when new devices come out, with all of the ooo's and ahh's and specs and capabilities flying around, it's easy to forget that PEOPLE are behind these wonderful things.  Very smart, interesting and innovative people.  And arguably one of the most powerful and influential people in the industry is Peter Chou, CEO of HTC.

Hi Bio:

Peter has been with the company since its establishment in 1997 and strongly believes in the values of entrepreneurship and innovation and, under his leadership, he has led the charge to establish HTC as a global smartphone brand.

With a vision for how mobile convergence could change how people live, Peter realized the tremendous potential of smartphones as he started to shape HTC’s culture of innovation more than a decade ago. Under his leadership, HTC has achieved many milestones, including the introduction of the world’s first Android and Windows Phone smartphones. Peter has also established strong relationships with the top mobile and technology companies including Google, Microsoft and Qualcomm, as well as the world’s leading mobile operators.

Regarded by many as a pioneer and visionary in the mobile industry, Peter has received numerous awards including Laptop Magazine’s #5 most influential mobile executive, the prestigious Wireless Week Leadership Award for extraordinary achievements in mobile communications and T3 Magazine’s #13 most influential technology executive. In addition, HTC was recognized as one of the top 100 global brands by Interbrand in 2011, and as one of the most innovative companies in the world by Fast Company Magazine and MIT Technology Review in 2010 and 2011.

Prior to joining HTC, Peter was a Director at Digital Equipment Corporation. He graduated with an Electronic Engineering degree from National Taiwan Ocean University in 1985 and holds an Executive MBA from National Chengchi University. He also is an alumnus of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. In his spare time, Peter enjoys reading, appreciating all forms of art and listening to classical music.

(Source: HTC)

Born in Myanmar, his father worked in the jade industry, a trade in which Peter had no interest.  He trained as an electrical engineer in Taiwan and thus began his obsession with electronics.  Founding HTC in 1997 with Cher Wang, initially building white label devices for other brands, but eventually launching products under the HTC name starting in 2006.  HTC has always been daring, innovative and willing to take risks and has an impressive history of "firsts" that include many successful products with Sprint (in bold) below.

Did you know that Sprint had the first 4G smartphone ever (HTC EVO) and the first device ever running Sense UI (HTC Hero)?

  • 1080 pixel display - HTC DROID DNA (2012)
  • 4G LTE Windows Phone -  HTC TITAN II (2012)
  • Smartphone with f2.0 aperture - HTC One X and S (2012)
  • Smartphone with Beats Audio – HTC Rezound (2011)
  • 4G LTE smartphone on Verizon and AT&T – HTC Thunderbolt and the HTC Vivid (2011)
  • 4G smartphone launched in the U.S. – the HTC EVO 4G on Sprint (2010)
  • HTC Sense smartphone – HTC Hero (2009)
  • Integrated GSM/WiMAX 4G phone launched in the world (Russia) – HTC Max 4G (2008)
  • Android device – T-Mobile G1 (2008)
  • Microsoft Windows Mobile 6 Pocket PC with intuitive TouchFLO touch screen technology – HTC Touch (2007)
  • Tri-band UMTS 3G device on the Microsoft Windows Mobile platform – Cingular 8525 (2006)
  • Tri-band UMTS PDA (2005)
  • 3G Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 device – HTC Universal (2005)
  • 3G CDMA Windows Mobile 5 phone – PPC-6700 (Sprint) and XV6700 (Verizon) (2005)
  • Microsoft Smart Music Phone – SDA/SDA Music (2004)
  • Large 2.8" TFT touch-screen LCD display – O2 XDA/T-Mobile Germany MDA/T-Mobile PPC Phone (2002)
  • Microsoft-powered smartphone (“Stinger”) – the SPV (2002)
  • Microsoft wireless Pocket PC – XDA, MDA and PPC (2002)
  • Microsoft Pocket PC – Compaq iPAQ (2000)
  • Color palm-size PC (1999)

With all of his successes however, Peter has not led HTC without controversy with many insiders and analysts blaming him for HTC's loss of market share in the past few years.  Common complaints site an inability to react to the mobile competitive landscape well enough and with failing to execute a successful marketing vision for the company.  But problems inside of the company may have been even more damaging that this according to an exclusive report by Reuters:

"After hiring a slew of foreign executives, he fell short on promises to senior staff to foster a more open culture and cede sufficient authority. He openly berated managers and overrode their decisions, often with little discussion.  Such an atmosphere, executives said, damaged morale and left managers uncertain of their roles. Chou kept his sales, product, marketing and design executives separate and, in some cases, created parallel teams doing the same thing. He didn’t hold meetings of executives of the different departments to iron out problems even as HTC’s performance wilted. “There’s a culture in HTC not to discuss numbers at senior management meetings,” said one former executive. “Those discussions tend to become hard or ugly, but if you don’t solve it, it becomes bigger.”

At the same time, Peter seems to have learned from the mistakes of the past and is not only fixing some of the longstanding personnel issues within the company, but also mapping out long term plans to bring HTC back to their rightful place as one of the top global smartphone and mobile brands in the world.  But it won't be easy.  Rivals like LG and Xiaomi are very hungry and have the vision and engineering chops to not only keep HTC at bay but to dominate their presence in certain markets, especially in Asia.

Luckily, HTC makes ridiculously good phones like the HTC One M8 that we at the Product Ambassador Team are currently supporting the launch of, with many in the industry press calling it the "best Android phone in the world, period."  That's quite an achievment, and one that HTC should not only be proud of, but look at as an advantage against massive competitors like Samsung and Apple. People love beautiful design and are willing to pay for premium products and a brand that they can rely on.  HTC is betting big in that space and we think that if they stay focused and keep making amazing devices like the M8, they'll be just fine.

Until next time,

The Product Ambassador Team

Disclaimer:
The Product Ambassadors are Sprint employees from many different parts of the
company that love technology. They volunteer to test out all sorts of Sprint
devices and offer opinions freely to the Community. Each Product Ambassador
shares their own opinions of these devices, therefore the information in this
post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprint. The PA's do not
represent the company in an official way, and should not be expected to respond
to Community members in an official capacity. #sprintemployee