There have been rumblings of a Moto moving its center of gravity to California ever since the spinoff was first announced over two years ago. Rumblings that have only grown louder following co-CEO Sanjay Jha's unconvincing assurances on analyst calls that Moto won't leave the Windy City. [Ed. note: We must note here that "Unconvincing Assurances" would be a great name for a designer fragrance.]
Jha has only ever committed to retaining "a presence" in Illinois, but has also said the unit should go where software talent grows on trees -- California. (See Moloney Saying Good-Bye to Moto, Moto Shuffles Ahead of Split , and Moto Wants to Do the Splits .)
"It is 100 percent confirmed they are moving headquarters," says Uki Dominque Lucas, head of Chicago Android, a training and development community started by Motorola employees.
A Motorola spokeswoman says the company has been investigating potential new locations for its headquarters. "Illinois is very important to Motorola and today the company employs more than 10,000 people in the greater Chicago-area," she said in an email response to questions. Sources estimate that there are some 4,000 people employed by Motorola in Libertyville. But the spokeswoman notes that if the company decides to relocate after the spinoff, it will affect fewer than 200 people.
Lucas says that much of Moto's mobile software development is already occurring on the West Coast, although employment in Illinois hasn't been drastically effected save some departmental restructuring.
In sizing up Moto Mobility's plans, it appears that California is important to Moto, but the company hasn't abandoned Illinois, either:
The heart of the matter for Motorola is that it is a hardware company to the core, and it's fighting to survive in world where software innovation is separating the winners and losers. It has gotten serious about its focus on Android, and likely will ramp up its activities on the West Coast without completely forgetting its Silicon Prairie roots.
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile