Cable Tech

Google Unloads Some Moto Engineers

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) says the unloading of some Motorola Mobility engineers isn't a sign that Moto's Home division is being prepped for a sale.

Motorola's Home division confirmed to Light Reading Cable this week that a "small portion" of its field engineering team has been transferred to Telecommunication Support Services Inc. (TSS), a Melbourne, Fla.-based company that outsources engineering work for service providers and vendors.

TSS's client list includes Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Charter Communications Inc. .

Some industry insiders see this as another indication that Google is starting to dress up Motorola's cable assets for a sale, because by shifting some operating expenses off the books, Google could show better cash flow and profitability. Motorola's Home unit also recently cut prices on CPE (consumer premises equipment), aiming to boost sales volume. (See Light Reading Poll: Who Will Take Motorola Home?, Motorola Home Adds M&A Expertise and Who's Angling for Motorola's Cable Unit? )

But Motorola insists there is no connection. "These plans were well underway before we were acquired by Google and before rumors and speculation of a potential sale began to emerge," the company said.

Motorola, which has been a TSS partner for more than 10 years, would not disclose how many employees are making the move or even how many people make up this particular part of the organization. Moto did say the decision ties into a strategy to invest in areas like systems integration services while maintaining legacy support services.

"We are still retaining a full team of engineers, subject matter experts, technical support experts, project managers and customer account managers to work with our customers and TSS," a company spokeswoman said in a statement to Light Reading Cable.

But another industry source says more changes are coming amid expectations that Google will indeed explore a sale of its newly acquired cable assets. "They are going to cut, and they're not trivial cuts," the source says.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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