It's only rather recently that smartphone manufacturer High Tech Computer Corp. became more than just another obscure OEM making reference devices, and BusinessWeek has an inside look at the factors that propelled HTC from unknown to Microsoft's go-to-guy. HTC was founded in 1997 by a group of refugee engineers from Digital Equipment Corp's Taiwanese subsidiary, and they immediately began to focus their efforts on handheld devices -- more specifically those that run one of the flavors of portable Windows. This early dedication to Microsoft operating systems (HTC was responsible for designing the first iPaqs), along with CEO Peter Chou's renowned attention to detail (he sent the Star Trek back three times before he was satisfied with its features) and the creative rein given to employees (whose titles include "Wizard" of this or "Magician" of that) made the company one of Redmond's favorite hardware partners. And even if HTC isn't yet a household name, investors have most definitely taken notice of its performance: the company's consistent double-digit growth (last year's $356 million in profits were triple the previous year's) have caused its stock to skyrocket more than 1000% since 2003.

[Thanks, Dave Z.]

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