Print 68 comment(s) - last by Belard.. on Aug 15 at 7:58 AM

Struggling phonemaker is in for some painful changes

Google Inc. (GOOG) announced the first step in its plans to overhaul struggling recent acquisition Motorola Mobility on Monday.  As part of the overhaul it will cut 1 out of every 5 jobs at the phonemaker unit, and will close roughly 31 of the 94 offices worldwide.

I. From the First Cell Phone to Near Last

In the wireless industry there is perhaps no company with as long and rich a history as Motorola.

Founded in 1928, Motorola was a pioneer in the world of wireless communications, inventing the world's first wireless walkie talkie in 1940 and the first commercial cell phone in 1973.  It would go on to play a crucial role as an early maker of mobile devices and infrastructure.

But Motorola's problems have stretched for around a decade and a half as the golden glory of its heyday faded.

Motorola first cell
Motorola literally invented the cell phone, but almost exited the market amid failing sales.
[Image Source: Know Your Cell]

Since the late 1990s Motorola has languished, first being overtaken by Finland's Nokia Oyj. (HEX:NOK1V) and Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM) in various markets, then later by young guns like Apple, Inc. (AAPL) and even a revitalized Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930).  A minor hit in 2004 -- the RAZR -- quickly became another disappointment after Motorola failed to continue to push the design and feature envelope, preferring self-referential sequels.  

A friend of mine in the software industry close to the phonemaker recently told me a story of how a former Motorola executive was sent to check out a promising startup as a potential acquisition in 2009.  He returned to report that the company was of no real interest.  

Weeks later he had quit Motorola and joined the startup.  The name?  FourSquare.

Motorola had for decades attracted innovators, but sadly stories like that defection were commonplace for the phonemaker as it stumbled through a decade of disappointing earnings which eventually culminated in hard red losses.

Of all the wrong moves Motorola made, the company did make one wise bid, becoming an early adopter of the Android operating system, a move that temporarily halted its losses in the smartphone market and gave it a small breath of life.

II. Google's Restoration Begins With Fresh Blood at the Top

Now it's up to Google, makers of Android, to finish sorting out the mess.  The software giant bought a $12.5B USD "fix-me-up" in Motorola, and now it's tearing down the mildewed walls and uprooting the rotting floorboards.  And it's not afraid to start cutting close to home.

Globally Motorola employs around 20,000 folks -- about as much as RIM did at its peak in 2008.  Of those, 4,000 will now be cut.  That leaves Motorola with a workforce that will still be more than 50 percent bigger than struggling peer RIM.  The cuts will be painful, though, with around 1,300 -- roughly a third -- coming from the phonemaker's home country, the U.S.

Fixer upper
Motorola Mobility is a big fixer-upper for Google. [Image Source:]

Dennis Woodside, new CEO of Motorola tells The New York Times in an interview that the key to the phonemaker's revival will start with pulling out of markets where Motorola is actually losing money.  He comments, "We’re excited about the smartphone business.  The Google business is built on a wired model, and as the world moves to a pretty much completely wireless model over time, it’s really going to be important for Google to understand everything about the mobile consumer."

Google has also recruited Mark Randall, a star up-and-comer from, Inc. (AMZN) (and also a Nokia veteran), who is acting as Motorola's new supply chief.  He says that when he came onboard Motorola's parts chain was a mess, but that by using fewer suppliers and 50 percent less parts he will be able to substantially cut costs.

Other key additions include former DARPA chief Regina Dugan, who will lead Motorola's advanced technology group, and Vanessa Wittman -- former CFO of brokerage firm Marsh & McLennan Comp.s, Inc. (MMC) -- who now steps in as Motorola's CFO.

III. Motorola Has Some Advantages, Even Without Special Android Favors

As every analyst or foe states at every possible opportunity it should be interesting to see whether Google shows any signs of favoritism towards Motorola, over its third party Android partners.  So far Google's approach seems to mirror Microsoft's handling of partner Nokia -- to trade employees, but steadfastly avoid any sort of exclusive product or software offerings.

Motorola has some advantages going ahead.  Apple's case against it has been dismissed in the U.S., making it the first of the Android Big Three to be out of that legal nightmare.    In the features department, Motorola's phones like the RAZR MAXX hold the battery life crown, even beating Apple's perennial battery life performer, the iPhone [Source: AnandTech].

The RAZR Maxx remains king of battery life. [Image Source: Verizon Wireless]

But Motorola must not waiver from releasing high-profile flagship phones or it risks losing the publicity battle with polished market leaders Samsung and Apple -- both kings of public relations hype.

The fresh blood must deliver oxygen to Motorola's atrophying muscles.  That much is apparent after the latest quarter of losses followed by a new regiment of layoffs and cost cutting.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: I look forward to the day...
By Belard on 8/14/2012 11:47:03 AM , Rating: 2
Do keep in mind the GOP has done nothing but harm the USA for political points. They admit this themselves in public. "Our #1 job is to keep Obama from getting another term"?

What about #1 job is to the people of the USA!?

By all means, there is nobody here that can provide a jobs bill that the GOP has submitted that is NOT an oil/energy de-regulation / Pollution lack bill with "Jobs" in the name.

And in case SOMEONE here posts an HR Bill and say "here is a jobs bill", I'll gladly link to said bill's official IS GOVT page which states exactly what it does or does not do.

RE: I look forward to the day...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/14/2012 1:51:16 PM , Rating: 1
"Job bills" don't work because they precede from a false premise that job creation begins with some sort of Government action. The only thing that's needed to create jobs, is for the Government to get out of the way of the private sector. It's that simple. Stop spending all of our money, stop nationalizing businesses, stop mucking with the markets! And for the love of everything, STOP printing out money!!!

"Our #1 job is to keep Obama from getting another term"? What about #1 job is to the people of the USA!?

Those goals are synonymous with each other. We cannot put the people of the USA first with someone like Obama running the country. He's ruling directly AGAINST the people, in case you haven't noticed.

You keep focusing on the Republicans, well where Obama's successful jobs bill? Where's the millions of jobs added because of his "stimulus" bill (hint: Government jobs don't count)? Where's the explosive growth?

You mindless shill.

RE: I look forward to the day...
By Belard on 8/15/2012 7:00:31 AM , Rating: 2
Uh, the GOP house voted down all jobs bills! Duh,
But wait the GOP in 20120 campaigned for more jobs, as does Romney. Tax breaks do NOT create jobs. Getting in the way of business? What happens when companies/wall street get to do what every they want? We saw that in 2008, remember?

Both Dem/GOP de-regulated a law that was made from the ashes of the depression - to separate banks from investment companies. They gambled with OUR money and had OUR govt. bail them out. Don't pretend you Crying Orange man begging for fellow republicans to vote for TARP and stimulus.

Do we have a problem with roads and bridges in this country? YES we do. How do we fix them? Through our taxes, the govt. HIRES people (contractors) to build the roads and bridges.

How else does a road get built or fixed?

What, you want us to work at Chinese wages? Again, do you actually have any idea of what you are talking about?

And yes, GOVT. Jobs do count. During past recessions from Reagan and Bush #1, hiring people is a way to get things done and keep the economy going. They work, they still pay taxes.

When people work, they spend money... which means more people are working. When I and most working people have to PAY Romney's taxes because of his off-shore accounts - it hurts US - including YOU. A mufti-millionaire who has 200+ Million in the bank, only pockets the money and continues to grow it. He doesn't create jobs.

Remember the Bush Tax Holiday? When corporations didn't have to pay taxes. YOU go find those number and let me know how many of them hired people vs let them go. You know who got the money? The share holders. The companies didn't create more jobs... which was supposed to be the whole point of the tax-break.

You know WHAT creates job? Give tax credits when a COMPANY hires people in the USA rather than off-shore. Want to GUESS who filibustered that bill? Hint: Use mean Grand Old Party.

Mindless Shill? LOL... Your brain is as empty as the factories Mitt the Twit emptied out to fatten his wallet.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

Latest Headlines
Inspiron Laptops & 2-in-1 PCs
September 25, 2016, 9:00 AM
The Samsung Galaxy S7
September 14, 2016, 6:00 AM
Apple Watch 2 – Coming September 7th
September 3, 2016, 6:30 AM
Apple says “See you on the 7th.”
September 1, 2016, 6:30 AM

Most Popular ArticlesAre you ready for this ? HyperDrive Aircraft
September 24, 2016, 9:29 AM
Leaked – Samsung S8 is a Dream and a Dream 2
September 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
Yahoo Hacked - Change Your Passwords and Security Info ASAP!
September 23, 2016, 5:45 AM
A is for Apples
September 23, 2016, 5:32 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki