Is Motorola Finally Dying?

5:50 PM The jobs cut at Motorola might be the beginning of the end for America's first major mobile maker, but it's been a long time coming

Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

August 14, 2012

2 Min Read
Is Motorola Finally Dying?

5:50 PM -- Motorola Mobility LLC appears to be teetering on the verge of extinction once again.

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s announcement this week that it will cut 4,000 jobs at the company it bought a year ago is just the latest signal of the end. (See Google to Cut 4,000 Motorola Jobs.)

Ever since Google struck the $12.5 billion deal to buy Motorola Mobility on Aug. 15, 2011, questions have been raised about what it was getting. Google was very clear that it was buying patents, but it also said it would continue to run Motorola as a separate business to help it "supercharge the Android ecosystem."

So far, however, this just doesn't seem to be happening. Samsung Corp. is getting lauded for its Android smartphones while Google went off and worked with AsusTek Computer Inc. to develop its own-brand Nexus 7 tablet. Hardly a ringing endorsement of Motorola there, Google.

In truth, though, the end of Motorola has been in sight for a long time now. The company simply hasn't managed to have a big hit in the marketplace since the RAZR. Remember that?

Here, let me refresh your memory: The Motorola RAZR came out in the fall of 2004. Motorola sold more than 100 million of these clam-shell phones, but it was basically all over by the beginning of 2007. That's more than five years ago now, a lifetime in cellphone terms.

The problem for Motorola is that it hasn't come out with a device with anything like the success of the RAZR, and it was blind-sided by the advent of the iPhone and tablet computers. Even a reboot of the RAZR brand in 2011 didn't help. (See Photos: Moto Gets Skinny With 4G RAZR and Moto Needs the RAZR to Burn.)

In fact, here at LR Mobile we've been trying to figure out what Moto could do next -- since 2007.

But, like Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and BlackBerry , Motorola is looking like a former giant of the mobile industry that is now running out of time.

There might be some lessons for Google in that, too.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

About the Author(s)

Dan Jones

Mobile Editor

Dan is to hats what Will.I.Am is to ridiculous eyewear. Fedora, trilby, tam-o-shanter -- all have graced the Jones pate during his career as the go-to purveyor of mobile essentials.

But hey, Dan is so much more than 4G maps and state-of-the-art headgear. Before joining the Light Reading team in 2002 he was an award-winning cult hit on Broadway (with four 'Toni' awards, two 'Emma' gongs and a 'Brian' to his name) with his one-man show, "Dan Sings the Show Tunes."

His perfectly crafted blogs, falling under the "Jonestown" banner, have been compared to the works of Chekhov. But only by Dan.

He lives in Brooklyn with cats.

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