Fresh off the high of ending a bruising legal battle with Apple (terms undisclosed), HTC’s Peter Chou may have had good reason to feel strong.
It was the CEO himself, according to a company statement, who led settlement negotiations with Apple before handing it over to Chief Legal Officer Grace Lei to wrap up the details. Widespread praise ensued in Taiwan following the announcement last month that Apple had been appeased and all lawsuits were off.
A week after this heroic feat, Chou donned the costume of The Man of Steel and sang karaoke with Chairwoman and fellow co-founder Cher Wang, according to two company employees who attended the event. Addressing the workers in a company auditorium, Chou wore a Superman T-shirt and cape while extolling his company’s virtues, said the employees, who asked not to be identified because the meeting was private.
Chou, who’s honed his own image with a more earthly trademark outfit of jeans, t-shirt and a sports coat, has a thing for heroics. One model of HTC smartphones was named “Hero.” And facing a record drop in sales, he urged employees in August to “kill bureaucracy” and “stay firm with the hero innovations.”
Sally Julien, a spokeswoman for HTC, declined to comment.
HTC’s shares have since rallied and a few analysts have upgraded the stock, which is down more than 40 percent for the year. Yet, while the legal truce is on, neither Apple or Samsung are likely to ease up on the company, which has lost half its smartphone market share in the past year and faces hungry new entrants from China.
So as Superman Chou saves HTC from plunging to her doom (“Don’t worry miss, I’ve got you”), the Lois Lane retort comes to mind: “You’ve got me? Who’s got you?”