Motorola's Handset Business On The Brink?

from the going,-going... dept

Anybody that's followed the fortunes of Motorola's mobile-phone unit over the years knows it's been a story of ups and downs. The company has had a number of blockbuster hits over the years, like the StarTAC and the RAZR, but hasn't been able to fill in the gaps between them with other successes. Now, Phone Scoop is reporting that the company is preparing to lay off up to half its staff. In addition, the company will only release a dozen devices this year, and it's dropping the Windows Mobile platform, favoring Android instead for its smartphones. The writing has been on the wall for Motorola for a while, as it struggled to follow up the iconic RAZR with another hit. Coupled with the current economic slowdown, it looks like Motorola's handset business could be headed for the deadpool, unless a buyer emerges for it. Perhaps that should be "buyer" -- there's been a lot of talk that Moto would have to pay somebody to take the business off its hands.


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    JeroenW (profile), Jan 13th, 2009 @ 11:38pm

    doesn't really surprise me

    After the hugely successful razr they came out with a ton of clones using the same software. While others innovated it took them an awful lot of time to put a Razr2 together. I've owned a RAZR and based on that I've replaced that with the V8. It's a decent enough phone. It's not as sturdy as the original was. It has no features whatsoever to distinguish itself from the other phones on the market except perhaps the spelling errors in the dutch translation of the software.

    I recently bought another american phone, a sonim xp1. And I do see similarities. A poor feature set, mediocre (motorola) to very poor user interface (sonim) but most importantly, absolutely horrible customer service. Motorola has a website with more eyecandy than content, a website that tries so hard to be young and popular that it's next to impossible to navigate. Sonim doesn't even spend any money on that, they do a tiny bit of advertising and that's it, they just don't care about their customer.

    I don't regret choosing these phones, I like the size of the motorola and I like the durability of the sonim. But when these two reach the end of their service life it's unlikely that I will put up with the whims of these two companies again.

     

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    rfdave, Jan 14th, 2009 @ 7:17am

    Startac anyone?

    You guys are forgetting your history. Remember the Startac? The same thing happened with Motorola after the Startac went from a $500 executive toy to a freebie with a 2 year signup. The Motorola handset division seems to be very hit driven. If they happen to stumble on a handset that's popular, then they company does well until the handset becomes free, then they have trouble making money. I'm glad I no longer work there.

     

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    chris (profile), Jan 14th, 2009 @ 9:13am

    the Q isn't bad

    i have a verizon Qm and for a windows mobile device it's not bad. it's probably the cheapest windows mobile device out there.

    i also had a razr and it was a good phone: decent size, decent battery life, bluetooth. but it was next to worthless for text messaging and pretty much anything other than making phone calls. i replaced it with the Q.

    most people didn't like the Q because they are used to PDA's with stylus screens, or blackberries. the Q is windows mobile and a qwerty keyboard with an interface that acts like a mobile phone and not a PDA.

    it's unfortunate that they are abandoning windows mobile, but i am intrigued by the prospect of a moto android.

     

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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jan 14th, 2009 @ 4:49pm

    Any Other US-Based?

    Is Motorola the only US-based mobile phone maker? Their problems probably stem from too much focus on the peculiarities of the US market, whereas other markets like Europe and Asia are much more competitive.

    Appleā€™s IPhone suffers from this, too, I think.

     

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