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Google pays $1.1bn for HTC team to expand its hardware ambitions

Counter-intuitively, Google has been getting more interested in hardware again. The company whose success has rested on pushing search, advertising and content services to every device on the planet is still fascinated by designing its own products. Now it is boosting its efforts by acquiring part of HTC, mainly for its design engineers and its expertise in virtual reality. Like Amazon, Google has been undeterred by major smartphone setbacks (the disaster of the purchase of Motorola Mobility, now offloaded, bar its valuable patents, to Lenovo). Regardless of conflicts of interest with Android handset partners, and the poor fit of a low margin hardware business within a services and software giant, it has created successive business units around its own gadgets,…

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