Moto's device chief has no idea when it will stop raining red ink

Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief

February 3, 2009

1 Min Read
Jha Don't Say

11:45 AM -- Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) co-CEO and Mobile Devices chief Sanjay Jha should remember: If you say you're not going to speculate, then don't.

In Unstrung's coverage of Motorola's horrible quarter this morning, Jha was asked when the company's ailing devices unit would break even. His reply: "Sometime after 2009, whether its 2010 or 2011, I'm not going to speculate."

He really thinks it will break even? Seriously? At this point, why set any expectations for the business?

Moto is up a tree. It's hanging its hopes on Android, partly because, compared to products from Apple and RIM, the current version of Windows Mobile is a dumpster fire. And Moto does need some way to come up with a low-cost phone capable of enabling high-margin services.

The trail of coverage leading to Moto's front door suggests that Android won't do much for Moto in 2009; no one wants to buy Moto's devices unit; and Moto can't afford to spin the unit off. That situation, if even close to correct, is not one to inspire confidence.

Even hinting that Moto's device unit would break even, even in five years, was too rosy a picture to paint. This is the group that invented the RAZR, then proceeded to slash its own wrists.

Jha may have a good plan for the devices unit, long-term, but he should have dodged that question as if it were a diamond-studded BlackBerry being hurled at his head.

— Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Phil Harvey

Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Phil Harvey has been a Light Reading writer and editor for more than 18 years combined. He began his second tour as the site's chief editor in April 2020.

His interest in speed and scale means he often covers optical networking and the foundational technologies powering the modern Internet.

Harvey covered networking, Internet infrastructure and dot-com mania in the late 90s for Silicon Valley magazines like UPSIDE and Red Herring before joining Light Reading (for the first time) in late 2000.

After moving to the Republic of Texas, Harvey spent eight years as a contributing tech writer for D CEO magazine, producing columns about tech advances in everything from supercomputing to cellphone recycling.

Harvey is an avid photographer and camera collector – if you accept that compulsive shopping and "collecting" are the same.

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