MOBILE FAIR-HTC CEO says committed to Microsoft and Google
BARCELONA Feb 18 (Reuters) - Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC (2498.TW) will stick with phone software from both Microsoft (MSFT.O) and rival Google (GOOG.O) for the long term, Chief Executive Peter Chou told Reuters on Thursday.
HTC, which specialises in smartphones that run computer-like functions such as Web browsing and email, has long been a staunch partner of Microsoft, and is also the maker of Google's first own-branded phone, based on Google's Android software.
"Our commitment to Microsoft has never changed," Chou said in a meeting at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the world's biggest wireless industry fair.
"Of course, we are very committed to Android as well. We are very long-term committed to those two."
Earlier in the week at the show Microsoft launched Windows Phone 7, a revamped version of its mobile phone operating software, [ID:nLDE61B275], while Google's (GOOG.O) chief executive Eric Schmidt made his first appearance at the fair and gave a keynote speech [ID:nN16234267].
HTC announced two Android phones and one Microsoft phone thie week as well as a budget smartphone, the Smart, based on neither Microsoft nor Google software but a chipset from Qualcomm (QCOM.O) that will likely sell at about half the price.
HTC, the world's fourth-largest maker of smartphones, said last month that gross profit margins would fall to about 30 percent this quarter from 32 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, but Chou said investor concern was overdone.
"I think there's some misunderstanding that we're sacrificing our margin tremendously," he said. "We're adding overall absolute profit to the company, making HTC competitive, much stronger over time," he said.
"Our margins just changed 1-2 percent. It's not a big deal," he said. "We think we are doing the right thing for our future, our competitiveness and we are very confident on our strategy." (Editing by Greg Mahlich)
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