HTC Acquires Dashwire, With an Eye Toward the Cloud

HTC is the latest company to plunge deeper into the cloud paradigm, acquiring a company that builds software for syncing content across mobile devices.

HTC is clearly interested in competing with Apple and other companies in the mobile-cloud game, snatching up a Seattle-based company known for its device-syncing software.

Financials of the agreement between the manufacturer and Seattle-based Dashwire remained undisclosed, but the latter will become a wholly owned subsidiary of HTC. Dashwire's Dashworks platform allows users to access mobile content across multiple screens and devices; the company also offers software for setting up and personalizing smartphones. HTC will integrate its new acquisition's assets into its cloud services.

"Cloud services are key to delivering the promise of connected services to our customers," Fred Liu, president of engineering and operations for HTC, wrote in an Aug. 5 statement. "People want access to all of their important content wherever they are on any device. The addition of Dashwire's cutting-edge sync services and deep mobile cloud experience strengthens our ability to deliver these services in a more powerful way."

HTC, Samsung and other mobile-device manufacturers face a clear and present cloud threat from Apple, which recently unveiled its iCloud initiative. Due to ship alongside iOS 5 sometime this fall, iCloud will sync data across a variety of iOS and Mac OS X devices, and serve as an online repository for documents, photos and music.

Some analysts see the iCloud as increasing Apple's "stickiness" among consumers. In a research note released on the heels of Apple first revealing its cloud initiative in June, Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White wrote that, "These new announcements further strengthen Apple's digital ecosystem by providing consumers with increased functionality, enhanced ease of use, greater efficiency and cool new features ... that we believe will drive further adoption of Apple devices in the future."

Evidently, other manufacturers are wary enough of Apple's cloud plans to formulate a few of their own. Granted, mobile devices running Android already have access to cloud services such as Amazon's Cloud Player and Google's various platforms, but HTC's acquisition reinforces they're also examining how their own brands can become more cloud-optimized.

HTC also faces a battle for market share against other manufacturers. For the three-month period ended in June, research firm comScore listed the top mobile OEMs, in descending order, as Samsung, LG Electronics, Motorola, Apple and RIM. However, a new note from research firm IDC suggests that, on a global level, HTC's unit shipments have increased 165.9 percent between the second quarter of 2011 and the same period of 2010-trailing Samsung, which rose 380.6 percent, but well ahead of RIM, Nokia and others in the space.

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