Dear Motorola: Instead Of Suing Competitors, Maybe Figure Out Why Employees Are Leaving

from the blame-everyone-else dept

As a company, if things aren’t going well, it’s often difficult to accept that some of the blame may be on your end — which makes it especially easy to lash out at competitors, assigning blame to them. This becomes troublesome when it starts to involve lawsuits. Just a couple months ago, we noted that Motorola was suing a former exec for jumping ship to Apple. And, now the company is suing RIM for getting a bunch of Motorola employees to leave Motorola and join RIM. To any outsider, it seems clear that Motorola has some problems that make it so employees are tempted to jump to other companies. But rather than focus on figuring out how to fix that, and make things such that employees want to stick around (making cooler phones might be a good place to start), it’s lashing out at competitors who are more appealing to Motorola’s own employees. In the meantime, Motorola might want to check out the research that shows the free flow of employees between competitors helps spread innovation across the entire market. In other words, stop suing people because your employees are leaving, and start figuring out ways to make employees want to work for you.

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Companies: apple, motorola, rim

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Comments on “Dear Motorola: Instead Of Suing Competitors, Maybe Figure Out Why Employees Are Leaving”

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AJ says:

Lack of innovation

I remember back in the day when Motorola was the king of pagers… their first digital pager was released after the competition. It had four memory registers to store numbers. Well, make that four USABLE memory registers. On close examination, they actually had 16, but because the competition only had four, that’s all they felt they needed to compete. Over the years, its been the same story again and again. They do not innovate, but copy. They do not lead, but follow. They do not excite their customers and apprently neither their employees. I really hate to see American companies go down, but maybe its time for Motorola to go the way of the buggy whip manufacturers.

Another former Motorolan says:

Re: Look at the HR . . . follow the money

Randy Johnson was a friend of mine. Totally good guy, In fact few nicer. What happened with him? Where is he?

I left Motorola becuase it did not matter what you did, the new management style is “It is never good enough”. In fact I was a highly decorated and awarded Motorolan. Which resulted in many merit raises over time. I was working from 6am to 11pm, a large part of my business was on conference calls to China. When I complained to my boss about working 6.5 days a week 16 hours a day(after taking time out to eat), that 6 hours of sleep a night was not enough. He seriously looked me in the eye and said, ” What makes you think you need 6 hours of sleep a night?” Motorola does not respect itself, it’s suppliers, or it’s employees. That is the problem, Greed and self centeredness as a whole.

Anonymous Coward says:

Competition? Nooooooooo......

The key phrase is “…helps spread innovation across the entire market.” The current operating principle in the current corporate world is to avoid and squelch all competition. The current mindset is to lock all competition for your own product and then set an high price on it. This, of course, probably dooms your product to failure or at very least limits its potential growth. There are very few businesses that can see beyond keeping it all for themselves.

This has probably always been true, but market realities have always overcome the short sighted thinking. Now businesses have marvelous tools like business model patents and DCMA takedown notices that allow them to live in their fantasy world a bit longer than normal before reality bites them.

Anonymous Coward says:


You see stuff like this at every level in companies. I worked in a office depot for a while for college money and I was lazy. The store manager was a complete jerk and no one worth a damn would stay there and they would just go to work at other retail stores in the general area. Even the managers below the store manager were doing this. Whenever we lost a good employee we either got a worthless employee or no one at all and was understaffed which just made the big boss be a bigger jerk. She also did things like reward bad employees if they actually did their job once in a blue moon and didn’t do anything good for the employees that always did their job and sometimes beyond that. Some people get into positions of power for no good reason.

widepart says:

retaining top people

At one time I worked for a company that was innovative, paid a little above market value for it’s staff, and had the best customer service people and policies in our industry. Growth was phenomenal; too fast sometimes. Personnel stayed because working conditions and pay were better than anywhere else in the industry………most who left wanted to come back in a matter of months.(not allowed)

Building an environment like what we had was easy, not being obsessed with market share made our business model work and that very few even today have copied. Oh, we accomplished the market share we wanted without trying.

From twelve to six hundred employees in four years at which we put on the growth breaks for the owner’s benefit, for reasons we could not really understand but were obliged to do because he owned the company and didn’t want it any larger. Today, the company still exists and runs as smoothly as ever from what I can see (I retired in 1990) it has grown but at a much slower pace and that was due to strict controls at upper managements requests. Many people who were just starting out there when I left are still there…I was from day one for 20 plus years………I still miss the place.

Do what you have to do to keep employees and management happy, treat them like royalty—treat customers as they should be treated….like royalty….and provide a service or product that goes beyond the your customers expect. Oh, provide services or products that are needed(first rule)!

TX IT Manager says:


@James: I’ve been the resource director for a consulting firm in TX, and I can guarantee that a non-compete is legally binding *if* it is properly written.

Even though TX is a right to work state, the non-compete is binding as long as it includes reasonable limits on timeframe, location, and industry. And even if a judge finds that some part of the agreement isn’t reasonable, the judge can alter just those portions of the contract. In other words, if the agreement says you can’t go to work for another company for 3 years, and the judge says 6 months is reasonable, they can change it.

IANAL, but I’ve been on both sides of this situation, and have received legal counsel on it.

The bottom line as an employee looking to jump ship: make sure your new employer has agreed to bear all costs should your previous employer decide to sue.

Anonymous Coward says:

Dear Mike,

While I am sure that the freeflow of ideas is a good thing, the particular case you are looking at is a very valid law suit that Motorola will probably win. The person who left was very involved in Motorola’s relationships with all the network operators and knew all the ins and outs of getting a phone approved by a operator. Lets just say AT&T in this case. That person is a very highly paid executive who also knows all of the phones coming down the pipe. When they leave to goto a competitor launching a new line of business they take all of their knowledge of both the process and products with them. What the executive did when they went to Apple was sell Mot’s trade secrets for the price of his salary, stock options, and probably some ridiculous sign on bonus.

This is not some engineer switching jobs. This is an executive making 200k+ a year who knows what the rules are.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The person who left was very involved in Motorola’s relationships with all the network operators and knew all the ins and outs of getting a phone approved by a operator.

That doesn’t exactly seem like trade secret info. That sounds like a job skill. Why should he be prevented from earning a living at any other company?

That person is a very highly paid executive who also knows all of the phones coming down the pipe.

Look at the iPhone. Look at Motorola’s phones. I don’t think Apple is learning anything from Motorola here.

In the meantime, based on your logic, no high level exec could ever leave a company. That seems ridiculous and bad for everyone.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Highly complex, yet extremely simple at the same time. Of course, when changes occur at the highest of rungs, the company identity typically changes. Goals that were once important are tossed to the wayside to make profit estimates of an outside analyst who seemingly has no inside interest as to the identity of the company (Let’s say a Goldman Sachs Analyst)

This sometimes leads to R&D budgets being slashed. If so, this can create a shock, which some don’t know how to handle, so they may leave for better pastures which value and will harness this creative mind.

lgmtrap says:


I want to make a couple of points. First there exists a confidentiallity agreement with in any company that prevents employees from divulging prioritized information. Second, that the company is not making “cool” phones is not the issue. the management team does not communicate either internally or departmentally, for the lethargize of a few disgruntled employees to want to leave.

Fernando says:

Looks like nobody here bothered to RTFA. Sean confused contract law with criminal law while Ja’z hypothesized a yellow-dog employment contract.

The lawsuit is about a contract between Motorola and RIM, not between Motorola and an employee. When RIM started violating the contract that they signed, what else was Motorola supposed to do?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Fernando -> “The lawsuit is about a contract between Motorola and RIM, not between Motorola and an employee. When RIM started violating the contract that they signed, what else was Motorola supposed to do?”

article -> “In the paperwork, Motorola says that RIM is violating a non-solicitation contract the two companies …”

So, these two companies conspired to create a black list ???

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