Beleaguered Motorola to slash more jobs, focus on Google Android to cut costs

“Motorola Inc.’s new cellphone chief is moving quickly to scale back the struggling division, simplifying the way it makes devices and cutting additional jobs,” Sara Silver reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“Sanjay Jha, who also became Motorola’s co-chief executive in August, has decided to focus on Google Inc.’s Android operating system as the software platform for Motorola’s showcase phones, according to people familiar with the matter,” Silver reports.

“Mr. Jha is expected to detail his plans — which will likely include thousands of layoffs — as early as Thursday when the company reports earnings, these people said,” Silver reports. “The company has announced 10,000 job cuts since early last year. Motorola declined to comment.”

“He is betting on Google’s Android operating system and just two other software platforms to speed development of sorely needed new models. He plans to jettison at least four other platforms, limiting the number of employees required to do customization work for different wireless carriers,” Silver reports. “This means Motorola may scrap dozens of phone designs that are in development, potentially leading to product delays in the coming quarters.”

“Motorola isn’t expected to deliver an Android-based phone until next year, according to people familiar with the matter. Indeed, its decision to opt for Android as its main platform means Motorola will be playing catch-up with manufacturers such as HTC Corp. of Taiwan, whose G1 phone went on sale this month from T-Mobile USA Inc.,” Silver reports.

MacDailyNews Take: Playing catch-up to an also-ran. That’s some strategy.

Silver continues, “Motorola is hoping that the open-source Google platform can attract developers of sophisticated applications to stave off the threat of Apple Inc.’s iPhone…”

Full article here.

19 Comments

  1. Motorola lost vision. Apple, IBM and Motorola, at one point, where working together. Now only Apple is left growing all by it self. IBM lost the chance to be part of this growth and Motorola plainly lost vision by divesting within this market and putting all their eggs in one basket. A basket that Apple, of all companies, just turned on it’s side. I hope Motorola keeps on being viable. We need competition to push the envelop. But they have an uphill battle.

  2. I for one would hate to see the ‘Beleaguered Motorola’ fail, but times and fortunes do change. This is a storied company that manufactured the familiar, backpack-sized “walkie-talkie” and smaller “handie-talkie” radios that helped the Allies win World War II.

    Of course, the two-way radio is the forerunner of today’s cell phone. It originally was created by a Canadian, and in 1940, the Galvin Manufacturing Company (Motorola’s forerunner) developed the project into the “portable” backpack model that was used by military units. Later, these radio systems were developed into reliable trunked radio systems and truly portable (and tiny) walkie-talkies, which police, fire and other public safety agencies have used for years. In the mid-1990s, cell phones sprang from this technology, and eventually, the iPhone.

    Fifty years from now, I’d hate to see someone have to stand up and write a similar eulogy recognizing Apple’s once brilliant contributions to the personal computer and consumer electronics industries, God forbid.

  3. Yes interesting that effectively both Moto and IBM ditched their relationship with Apple and yet which is now the star?

    Also interesting that Moto who patently had decided to put most of its eggs in the Windows Mobile basket has now decided to dump that particular lame dog rather than face the Kruft’s judges and go for Android instead. Perhaps the MS mouthpiece of this particular week would like to explain that one when he/she talks about their mobile ‘showpiece’.

  4. Hey, MDN, give Moto a break! After all, if you can’t design a decent mobile phone interface over the past 15 years or so, then why would you continue to develop for at least 7 software platforms?

    Hey, Moto could be the next Apple, as in the company which was near failure but instead innovated its way out of the darkness . . .

    Oh, but that would require some employees to actually DO the innovation, not reliance on Google for it’s software.

    I guess the plan’s not going to work after all.

  5. “You can’t outrun a Motorola”
    — from “Blues Brothers 2000”

    Moto used to make great radios for use by emergency services, but even those have gone downhill in the past decade.

    The Minitor II was great! (hint: old fashioned crystal frequency control)
    The Minitor III sucked big time. (Start of digital frequency control)
    The Minitor IV was somewhat better.
    The Minitor V has the fancy features, but reception sucks.

  6. You can’t attribute all of Motorola’s troubles to the iPhone. MOT’s previous management was content to rest on their laurels, not once but twice, and both times MOT fell flat on its face after posting significant sales numbers.

    The first time was with the original ‘flip phone’. They sold a humongous amount of them and while doing so ignored the transition to digital. The second time was with the RAZR. The RAZR was MOT’s salvation. Without it they would have become a footnote in history. But again, they focused on upgrading the RAZR, instead of developing something radically new, such as they had with the ‘flip’ phone and the RAZR. This time they are going up against much stronger competition – Apple, a former partner.

  7. Moto was not a huge player in the PowerPC business either. They were brought into the threesome to second source production of the chips because Apple management was wary of IBM. Moto’s bit of brilliance was putting DSP on the PowerPC chip.

    As for their phones, they better move reeeeeeeely fast because they are basically IRRELEVANT!

    Goodbye MOTO!

  8. Sorry Moto, you made a huge mistake treating Apple like a low priority in your business plan. Looks like now the best you can hope for is getting your name written in the business history books for how not to run a technology company.

    Although I think Dell is going to have the first few chapters. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    /snark subroutine DIS-abled. Emphasis on the DIS.

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