A thousand HTC engineers sound off to their boss in a letter

A thousand HTC engineers sound off to their boss in a letter
Taiwan media is reporting that a thousand of HTC's engineers have written an open letter to HTC CEO Peter Chou. No, it wasn't a letter thanking the executive for the wonderful time that had at HTC's Year-end party. That was the shindig where Mr. Chou held up prototypes of his company's upcoming new flagship model and led the crowd in a chant of "M7, M7". Actually, the letter was written to complain about the working conditions at HTC.

According to the letter, the engineers had to work 12 hour days without any overtime pay for more than a year. As a result, each engineer amassed more than 1,000 hours of unpaid overtime. In response, HTC said it followed Taiwan's labor laws and has always encouraged employees to take use of annual vacations. The company said that employees are always allowed to request overtime, which of course must be approved by a department head.

In a few short years, HTC went from being a contract manufacturer to becoming one of the bigger players in the big leagues, to its current status which actually is a bit unclear. Chinese smartphone producers like Huawei, ZTE and even Lenovo have leaped over HTC and while the company has had success with the HTC DROID DNA/HTC Butterfly and will even top the 441ppi pixel density on that device with the 468ppi HTC M7, Samsung is basically eating everyone's lunch when it comes to Android. If HTC doesn't really appeal to the masses with the next few devices, the next time we see Peter Chou chant a letter followed by a number, it could for his new job as a bingo caller.

source: (translated) via UnwiredView



1. RiseAgainst94

Posts: 281; Member since: Mar 03, 2012

This article saddens me, but at the same time impresses. A small number of workers working ridiculous hours without overtime pay are able to crank out high end impressive smartphones one after the other. Not bad.

17. PhenomFaz

Posts: 1236; Member since: Sep 26, 2012

Yes they are able to crank out impressive phones but you see that's theor problem...all phones are impressive but there is something lacking in all of them! You treat your human capital in a crappy way and no matter how good your product is the human dissatisfaction will always show in them....thats the reason HTC hasnt been able to hit it big....thier workers are doing just that...WORKING! For them its work...its not what they love to do or want to do and frankly i dont blame one wants to work 12 hours a day and not get paid overtime!

27. rallyguy

Posts: 620; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

How do you apply that to the workers at Foxcon in China making the Iphone?

29. PhenomFaz

Posts: 1236; Member since: Sep 26, 2012

I dont :) For Foxconnto be called inhumane is incorrect as there can be no comparison of Foxconn with humanity :) Foxconn is a damn attrocity! The way they treat their workers is beyond inhumane and I dont know why or how companies can bear to work with them

30. joseg81

Posts: 204; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

i completely agree with your statement. they make great devices but after they make them they don't care about them or the customers that shell out their hard earned money. it's sad and it's one of the reasons i'm switching to a different manufacturer when i get my next phone.

2. jasonjerkoff

Posts: 22; Member since: Jul 12, 2012

no motivation of the workers , hence the company current situation

8. Luuthian

Posts: 332; Member since: Sep 09, 2011

Potenitally. But I'd also say it's a simple lack of understanding what the consumer wants. And then there's the marketing. It's pretty clear that people just don't want their phones. They're missing something. In my case it's battery power. I LOATHE HTC's stance on battery life. But in someone else's case maybe they just don't like the unibody design. Maybe they don't like Sense. Whatever it is, people don't want them.

31. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

and theres no sd card and still a small battery

34. 8logic

Posts: 154; Member since: Mar 05, 2012

The sense UI killed it for me; it slow, laggy, non-customizable, and why do I need a setting button on the bottom where I have all the most important buttons?

3. RiseAgainst94

Posts: 281; Member since: Mar 03, 2012

No overtime pay with those hours is absolutely egregious.

4. GeekMovement unregistered

Those workers deserve to be paid for every hour they work at HTC.

35. 8logic

Posts: 154; Member since: Mar 05, 2012

They can always quit, the problem is that the worker need work (bad economy) and HTC needed to cut cost (s**tty product).

5. wendygarett unregistered

I don't think everyone love that, unless those engineers are fanboys...

6. wendygarett unregistered

A lot of working conditions HTC should learn from Google... Their workers have chance to go Jacuzzi, spa treatment, and an extra library for them to think... That's why Google worker are so happy :)

7. cas_shekhar

Posts: 25; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

Shame on you peter.

9. tedkord

Posts: 17480; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

I'm not familiar with Taiwan Labor law, but even in this country (USA) people can be forced to work long hours for no OT, if they're exempt salaried. At my company, people were required to work 13 out of every 14 days, 12 hours a day, for almost three months straight with no additional compensation. I'm not saying its right, but it does happen. And some were engineers.

10. wendygarett unregistered

That because American has no choice, if they don't obey, they will lost their job... Right?

11. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Out of curiosity, where (what state) is your company located? Different states have different rules about overtime.

22. rusticguy

Posts: 2828; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

I will not name but i know someone who teaches in one of those drama/theater schools in US and of late he has been forced to teach odd hours, subjects that he never has taught, do administrative work and are not leaving him. They want him to quit so that he does not qualify for unemployment. When there are rules there are means to circumvent those rules also everywhere.

12. Hunt3rj2

Posts: 396; Member since: Nov 11, 2011

Let's hope that HTC comes back hard for 2013, it will be even worse if these people lose their jobs....

13. gwuhua1984

Posts: 1237; Member since: Mar 06, 2012

I never knew there was such a thing as overtimes in Asia.... I thought people are supposed to work 12 hours a day there.

14. wendygarett unregistered

In condition of paying ot :)

23. rusticguy

Posts: 2828; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

It's 8Hrs in India. Workers get OT but Managerial staff get no OT. Many companies give "Compensatory Off" in lieu of OT to middle management staff but again that varies.

15. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Okay that's it, I don't care about HTC any more. They can go bust as far as I'm concerned. If I were to buy a Taiwanese phone I'd give my money to Asus

16. Altair

Posts: 367; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

HTC is a copycat company = leadership + R&D doesn't have any skills to make anything innovative and original. This article proves that HTC leadership doesn't have any clue how to make successful products. One major part of it is, that workers are happy and inspired. I bet those engineers hate own job and HTC. How come they would make anything innovative with these conditions? Only way for them is to copy ideas from Nokia and Apple and make workers act like slaves.

25. gwuhua1984

Posts: 1237; Member since: Mar 06, 2012

What are you talking about. HTC is the first to come out in hardcore spec for the last couple years. First Android, first Nexus, first LTE devices on major networks in the US, first to announce to be using quad core and now first 400+ ppi on M7. Except all this gets overshadowed by newer Samsung Galaxy S model hypes. Should I say all manufacturers that start doing all that after HTC are copycats? The 12 work hours is actually very normal in Taiwan... Pretty much all office workers suffer from that. It's the government that doesn't enforce regulation on the work hours.

18. ChiX017

Posts: 308; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

Lol, nice ending...

19. stephenju

Posts: 6; Member since: Feb 08, 2013

I am very disappointed... by PhoneArena. The original Chinese story indicates there's ONE anonymous letter to a media. Not a thousand, not an open letter, not to HTC. One anonymous letter and it has to be true. Right? Finding someone who knows Chinese to at least verify the key points in the proposed story should not be that hard. There are over a billion Chinese speakers in this world.

20. timtimity

Posts: 196; Member since: Aug 13, 2012

Obviously I don't know HTC's business strategies, but surely doing things like not releasing phones like the DNA and Butterfly in Europe has contributed to their current situation.

24. darkskoliro

Posts: 1092; Member since: May 07, 2012

DNA = Butterfly. They dont want to release Butterfly worldwide because it will clash with m7 sales, hence only sold in countries more popular with HTC where the sales wont be hindered much.

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