HTC reportedly lost its Amazon phone deal due to AT&T objections

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Jon Fingas
September 11th, 2014
HTC reportedly lost its Amazon phone deal due to AT&T objections

As you may have noticed, that rumor of HTC making Amazon smartphones never panned out; Amazon ultimately designed the Fire phone itself. But was it a bogus story to begin with? Not if you ask The Information. Its sources claim that HTC landed a deal to make a low-end Amazon phone, but that AT&T freaked out when it heard that it wouldn't have a US exclusive on the device. The carrier reportedly threatened to drop support for the higher-end Fire, forcing Amazon to scrap HTC's project. That may have been a tough decision, as Amazon had supposedly offered to buy HTC before being turned down by its acquisition target's independence-minded chairwoman, Cher Wang.

None of the companies involved have commented on the drama, so it may be tough to ever know the full story. The objections are at least plausible, however, since AT&T has a history of demanding exclusives for HTC-made specialty (read: gimmicky) phones like the First and Status. Whatever happened, HTC may have dodged a bullet -- the Fire isn't exactly a strong seller, and there's no guarantees that a budget Amazon phone would have fared much better.
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