French software firm Abaxia has made a name for itself create white-label modules that help carriers brand phones -- its two flagship products are search and active home screen apps (pictured) -- so the fact that HTC has shelled out €11 million (about $13.1 million) for the company this week should offer you a solid clue where this is all headed. Naturally, HTC isn't talking about exactly how Abaxia will fit into the big picture, but boss Peter Chou says that the acquisition will "deepen and broaden [their] software development capabilities so that [they] can innovate at an even faster pace." Software value-add is becoming even more important for phone manufacturers these days as hardware all converges on a fairly standard full-touch prototype that doesn't offer much opportunity for differentiation -- even as Microsoft is putting the kibosh on serious customization in Windows Phone 7 -- so it'll be interesting to see how this ultimately affects HTC's products, particularly those with carriers' logos silkscreened around back. Follow the break for HTC's full release.

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HTC STRENGTHENS SOFTWARE CAPABILITIES WITH ACQUISITON OF ABAXIA

TAOYUAN TAIWAN – June 7, 2010 – HTC Corporation, a global designer of smartphones, today announced it has acquired Paris-based Abaxia, a leader in custom software for mobile operators and handset manufacturers around the world.

"HTC is committed to creating the best possible mobile experience for our customers today, tomorrow and into the future," said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corporation. "The addition of Abaxia deepen and broaden our software development capabilities so that we can innovate at an even faster pace."

"HTC and Abaxia have worked closely together in the past and our businesses complement each other well," said Cedric Mangaud, CEO of Abaxia. "We're excited to be joining such a significant and emerging mobile brand."

About Abaxia

Founded in 2001, Abaxia is a leading software developer specializing in mobile solutions that quickly promote and monetize operator and handset manufacturer services on smartphones. For more information about Abaxia, please visit www.abaxia.com.

About HTC

HTC Corporation (HTC) is one of the fastest growing companies in the mobile phone industry. By putting people at the center of everything it does, HTC creates innovative smartphones that better serve the lives and needs of individuals. The company is listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange under ticker 2498. For more information about HTC, please visit www.htc.com.