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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