Google’s Motorola Mobility unit to battle iPhone with military-style skunkworks lab

“Google gave its first hints on Monday about its grand plans for its newly acquired cell phone company, Motorola Mobility,” David Goldman reports for CNNMoney. “Some of Motorola’s early moves come right from the business 101 handbook: It plans to cut a fifth of its staff, exit unprofitable markets, scale back its manufacturing to just a few core products, and rethink its advertising campaign. Google confirmed those plans to CNNMoney on Monday.”

“But Motorola is also setting up a new division that it hopes will attract some of the world’s most elite researchers. Dubbed ‘Advanced Technology and Projects,’ the unit will bring together a small group of scientists, mechanics and experts tasked with developing ground-breaking technologies that can be included in Motorola’s devices,” Goldman reports. “Skunkworks ventures are increasingly common in Silicon Valley, but Motorola’s comes with a twist: To ensure that projects are not only completed but developed quickly, that group’s engineers will be given just two years to work there. Then they’ll be shown the door.”

Goldman reports, “If the new division sounds like something out of Q’s lab in the James Bond movies, you’re not far off. The leader of the group is Regina Dugan, former director of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa). She borrowed the idea from her experience at Darpa, where small groups of engineers work on short-term projects with a definite end-date, then disband.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Too bad for Google that the mole blew his cover so soon, huh? It was a lot easier and cheaper back then.

Here’s what Google’s Android looked like before and after Apple’s iPhone:

Google Android before and after Apple iPhone

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Edward W.” for the heads up.]


  1. Yea, like the other companies running Android will show Google the door before two years are up. Way to go Google, tell your buddies you are going to shank them often and regularly. Shank your current buddies, compete with them, and create yet another beta project.

  2. What is the advantage to the employer to get rid of staff after two years if they have produced great work ?

    I would have thought that they were the very ones that you should retain.

  3. I think the article is confusing the project disbanding after 2 years vs. the employee being let go after 2 years.

    It would be the project that ends in 2 years and the group on that project disbands.

    They will never get the lab off the ground if going in you know that 24 months later you are gone from the company. lol

    1. I agree. Kicking the people out of the door after two years is stupid. Just when they potentially get a success under their belt, you can them? Goldman is messed up.

      Of course, this article was produced by a person who can’t even capitalize an acronym (DARPA). lol

  4. What took them so long? They should have been forging ahead with something like this when they were first caught with their pants down with the original iPhone. This is good for the industry.

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