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Motorola To Split In Two

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the three-screens-and-you're-out dept.

Businesses 91

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that Motorola plans to reorganize itself into two independent publicly held companies by the first quarter of 2011. The first company will own the Motorola brand and will include Motorola's mobile handset unit and home set-top box business. This new company will focus on the 'three screens' lifestyle envisioned by carriers like AT&T and Verizon, where customers would watch content on TV, on their computers, and on their mobile phones. The other company emerging from the split will include Motorola's wireless networking business and its enterprise radio systems operations. The wireless networking business would likely be sold off, leaving the second company with its profitable enterprise radio systems business, which generated $7 billion of the company's $22 billion in sales in 2009."

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Can you hear me now? (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127436)

Goodbye Moto

The split was Carl Icahn's idea. (4, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128012)

Neither of the stories linked by Slashdot mentioned the underlying reasons for the split. The split was Carl Icahn's idea. One story: Carl Icahn Top Stocks: Yahoo! Inc., Motorola Inc., ... [gurufocus.com]

Quote: "On March 24, 2008 Icahn sued Motorola as part of his efforts to gain 4 seats on Motorola's Board and force a sale of its mobile business."

It is interesting that the New York Times article linked by Slashdot doesn't discuss the reason for the split. The reason may be that the split would be profitable for Mr. Icahn.

Re:The split was Carl Icahn's idea. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128080)

When's that old bastard gonna die? Seriously, he's like a financial vampire sucking the fiscal life out of these companies. And I think he has the Reverse Midas Touch, in that everything he touches turns to crap (in one way or another).

Ehh... And there were times (3, Insightful)

RCL (891376) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127454)

When Motorola was a processor brand. And a good one. Ehh...

Re:Ehh... And there were times (5, Informative)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127534)

Indeed, though they spun off their semiconductor division [wikipedia.org] into Freescale [wikipedia.org] a while back.

Motorola have already done this twice (2, Interesting)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 4 years ago | (#31129810)

Indeed, though they spun off their semiconductor division into Freescale a while back.

Yes; that was what I thought when I first read this. From what I remember reading here, Motorola have effectively split at least once before- seeing this [slashdot.org] confirms it. The current "Motorola" is AFAIK the one that just happened to keep the name.

IIRC many Slashdotters don't consider the current "Motorola" to be the true original company anyway. When they split again, "Motorola" will still exist- as long as the trademark exists.

Re:Ehh... And there were times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31131036)

Freescale and ON Semiconductor earlier. ON seems to be doing OK, but I wonder if Freescale will stay around much longer. They're losing tons of money and their processors are kinda fringe products nowadays.

Re:Ehh... And there were times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31129734)

And before that they made radios.

The end of a giant. (5, Insightful)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127548)

Motorola forgot that the reason people bought their products was because they were the best in the world. Not the cheapest. The best. When Galvin Sr. ran the company, Motorola radios were the finest on Earth. Motorola brought us the 1st transistor TV, Quasar, the G4 chip was great. Iridium was a great idea, ruined by Galvin Jr. When Motorola was run by engineers, it thrived, even though it's products were usually the most expensive in the industry. Once the accountants and stock swindlers got hold of it, there was a race to the bottom, and this is the end result. The MBA's just can not conceive that people will pay for quality and innovation. Being cheapest, cutting R&D, Ugh, I could go on, but I think you know what I mean.

So long Motorola! It was a good run.

Re:The end of a giant. (4, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127614)

I'm not sure why you say this split in particular is the end-- Motorola has done this sort of thing a couple times already. In fact I work for a division of General Dynamics that was once Motorola. There's also Freescale, which used to be Motorola's microprocessor unit. They seem to like being a certain size and when they grow beyond it they divide.

Re:The end of a giant. (4, Insightful)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127920)

They seem to like being a certain size and when they grow beyond it they divide.

That may be incredibly wise of them.
I've worked for a couple of companies who started off very innovative and did a lot of smart things until they grew above a certain size. Then they became bloated, bureaucratic and stopped innovating. And the bigger they got the more concerned with internal processes they became, yet the less profitable they became.
I've lived inside that twice, and I've seen it happen to countless other companies.

Re:The end of a giant. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128020)

But bigger is better! We can Leverage our Synergies!

Re:The end of a giant. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128074)

I don't get it. Why does that should be a matter of splitting. Break the management into different pieces, but splitting the company, means a lot more of advertisement to make people aware of the name changes.

People know the brand, why would they want to split, make into another brands, and allow people to forget what they were.

I don't think this should be a matter of interest of the public, but as you said it's an internal issue, why managing it with splitting the company and changing brands, when they can just call themselves Motorola Semiconductors (instead of freescale), Motorola Mobile (for cellphones and radios), etc.? I think that's more of a stock holder trick, rather than a good business plan.

Re:The end of a giant. (2, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128536)

There’s an obvious reason for that: Humans are not made to live in huge hierarchies. We are made to live in small groups of people, where everybody knows everybody. (Example [nationalgeographic.com] )

As soon as things become half-anonymous, or people do not actually participate in any decisions anymore, it stops working. The one on top will then only care for themselves, as they are the only ones that seem “real”. The one on the bottom will “just do his job”, not really caring for the company anymore.

It’s the same reason why states can’t work. We’re not a team anymore. We are way to diverse to be that tight unity of a community where everybody cares for everybody, or even has mostly the same views as everybody else.

It is possible with fractal structures though.
Meaning you have small groups of 20-50 people, who also act as a atomic entity in a group of 20-50 groups. And so on.
It’s very important here, that they can really act like single entities in that big group. Else it’s not possible.

Re:The end of a giant. (1)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133222)

Yep, the flaws of top-down command and control, and also the problem of out-of-touch senior execs.

Re:The end of a giant. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31134320)

Yes. I work for a large healthcare company right now, and they aren't giving me any work to do, at all. I'm there because some manager wanted to grab as many resources as he could. But then there's no actual work to do, and may not be for months.

It's incredibly depressing, both as a (well-paid!) employee, and from the perspective of wondering where all the health insurance money goes.

Re:The end of a giant. (1)

rwyoder (759998) | more than 4 years ago | (#31129622)

Then they became bloated, bureaucratic and stopped innovating. And the bigger they got the more concerned with internal processes they became, yet the less profitable they became.

I worked at Motorola for 3 years in the mid-90's.
You just described it perfectly.
It was clear that they considered the primary product to be bureaucracy and paperwork.
Doing actual work was something you had to do on your own time in the evenings.
After 3 years I could not take the BS any more and fled screaming.

Re:The end of a giant. (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137164)

The splitting doesn't help with that. After the split the parts are still as bureaucratic as the original company was. None of the wasteful processes, none of the paperwork, none of the ineffective executives were eliminated.

Standard Biology, of course! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128270)

The bigger the company, the more income required to sustain them; the square/cube law I suppose.

It's the Motorolamoeba!

Re:The end of a giant. (4, Insightful)

DrDitto (962751) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127688)

Iridium was a terrible idea devised by engineers with an ill-thought out business plan. The business model could *never* succeed by simple math (i.e., the max capacity of the Iridium system was so small that it could really never be profitable). The worst part of Iridium was that it was an engineering drain on the rest of the company. Some of our best cellphone engineers got sucked into making cellular plug-in cards for Iridium handsets.

BTW-- I used to work for Motorola as a software engineer on handsets. It was a lousy experience.

What happened? V3 failures. (2, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128216)

"I used to work for Motorola as a software engineer on handsets. It was a lousy experience."

Could you explain further? What happened that cause Motorola's inability to make sensible decisions?

The Motorola V3 Razr phone was successful until owners discovered the screen was open to dust and moisture, the manual was terrible, and the help messages were unhelpful. I noticed that Motorola cell phones became much less popular after the Razr.

Re:What happened? V3 failures. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31130514)

The Motorola V3 Razr phone was successful until owners discovered the screen was open to dust and moisture, the manual was terrible, and the help messages were unhelpful.

Sounds like you've got your personal bones to pick. The truth is that the RAZR (V3 is just one model number, for the original) is just another rehash of the Motorola Triplets phones, AKA V3xx, V5xx, V6xx. It's got essentially the same hardware, and essentially the same failings, mostly centered around the crap OS that Motorola used for these models. You want screen open to dust and moisture? Try any of the cheaper Nokia offerings (e.g. 6xxx). I got a hair in between my screen and screen cover in week one, pulled it out, and got another in week two that got all the way in there before I could grab it. They made absolutely zero effort to keep such things from happening. Now I deeply regret not bringing my V3i on vacation with me to Panama, where I bought the cheap Nokia POS, because there is nothing whatsoever behind the screen protector in my RAZR.

The RAZR has failed because it is a lame phone with a lame Java implementation and a lame Bluetooth implementation; most models don't even support stereo audio over bluetooth. And I don't know about you, but I've had my phone hang on me several times, and I've also seen a bug I saw on my V300, and on my V555, and on my V3, and then on my V3i, where you make a call and the phone will receive audio, but not transmit it. The fact that this bug has persisted so long is incredibly pathetic. I guess it's also pretty sad that I kept going back for more. You should never have to reboot your cellphone to make a call.

Anyway, the UI isn't what killed the RAZR, nor any of your imagined crap intrusion problems. It's that it's a piece of crap whose hinge dies and whose OS is crap in every way. Of course, again the same is true of the low-end Nokia phones which dominate the market, AND they have serious crap intrusion fail. So probably marketing is the real problem. Having to look at pictures of models who supposedly represent hip teenagers every time I opened Mobile Phone Tools was offensive, to say the least.

Re:The end of a giant. (1)

fl!ptop (902193) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127722)

Motorola forgot that the reason people bought their products was because they were the best in the world.

No doubt. When I was into amateur radios in the '70s and '80s, their products were always known for quality, durability and reliability. Anyone who owned a Motorola hand-held knew that, if you were being mugged, you could probably beat your attacker down with your radio and then still be able to use it to call for help.

Hell, my 1st-gen razor has fallen off my hip while i was riding my motorcycle and it's still kicking ass.

So long!

Re:The end of a giant. (1)

Brewmeister_Z (1246424) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127746)

MBA = Masters in Business Atrophy

I see the appointment of a pure MBA (without any background in what that company makes as a product)to CEO as the sign to get ready to cash out after they do their "Short Term Gain, Long Term Loss" changes that spike the the stocks value and then nosedive it down when there is realization that the cost saving changes hurts the company the most in areas that previously made it successfully.

I swear some of these MBA's read Dilbert to get "good" ideas from Dogbert and the PHB.

Yaesu (4, Interesting)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128390)

Motorola owns Yaesu. Actually, it owns "Vertex Standard" and Yaesu is a division of it, thus the newer Yaesu logo which is a stylized "VS". I guess this is going with the enterprise radio division.

Obviously hams have been nervous that Motorola would kill Yaesu since the purchase happened. I don't see any reason to be less nervous.

Re:Yaesu (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128844)

I didn't know that. Interesting. I've got a bunch of Vertex radios in the boat and a some Yaesu gear in my ham shack. Hmm. Well, they should keep working even if the company goes belly up.

"May you live in interesting times" --- apocryphal Chinese curse

Re:The end of a giant. (2, Interesting)

timholman (71886) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128800)

The MBA's just can not conceive that people will pay for quality and innovation.

What really destroyed Motorola, IMO, was Six Sigma. Motorola was one of the the first U.S. companies to get sucked into that MBA fad, and it ruined them.

Six Sigma, if left unchecked, quickly becomes the all-consuming passion of every mid-level manager. All of management's efforts go into the bean-counting involved in keeping track of how corporate processes are constantly "improving". You stop watching the competition, and what's happening outside the company, and turn inward instead. Motorola was blindsided by the introduction of digital cellular technology while focused on Six Sigma, and never recovered.

You can begin to track Motorola's decline from the year they won the Malcolm Baldrige Award (1988). Go look at the Wikepedia entry on the Baldrige Award, and you'll see that the list of winners is practically a "Who's Who" of failed and underperforming U.S. companies.

Re:The end of a giant. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31129370)

Uhhh, Six Sigma was created by Motorola, although it is largely based on the TQM movement pioneered by Shewart, Demming and Ishikawa.

Six Sigma can be a powerful tool, however that's all it is, a tool (disclaimer I am a green belt). The problem occurs when people treat it as the be all, end all, solution to any business problem and start applying to all sorts of dumb ass things. It's great when you have an ongoing, standardised process (like making microprocessors or processing invoices), it's when you try to use it to "accellerate" innovation or new product development (or worse only promote people who've done their green or black belt) where it quickly becomes a complete waste of time.

Six Sigma is a hammer, which is great when you have a nail, not so much when you have a screw

Re:The end of a giant. (1)

coastwalker (307620) | more than 4 years ago | (#31130762)

I agree Six Sigma is a fantastic tool. I used to work in the semiconductor industry and it rules. Six sigma is a concept though and entreprenurs providing the greatest toys have to rely on their suppliers having the deep implementation to provide the subsystems that they can then still put together credible products, often based on old fashioned 100% final QA without two sigma capability. I bet you my left foot that the iPad doesnt have 99.8% yield right now. Even more so I will bet you both arms and either foot that not every customer who wants one can get one by walking into a shop and buying one. No six sigma supply capability at launch eh? Doesnt mean that its not going to be a hugely sucessful product in the end (probably).

Six sigma is used by every industry in the world now, systems rely on the input hardware to be uniform because of this. Garbage in garbage out is the rule these days, hardware has to be capable. However all systems use software and software can never be fully tested for all use cases. So we have to rely on software updates to fix niggles and use cases that the desigers never thought of and tested for. Six sigma does not recognise this concept so its not universally applicable, it has its limitations.

I want to buy a washing machine right now but i am dispirited by the fact that its going to be a compromise piece of equipment, no updates, no cutting edge performance because its built for the average case (soft water, not hard where I live) and no improvements over its lifetime.

I'm still waiting for one of you clever entreprenurs to create the updateable washing machine to show that you can spot the next great business idea that we consumers will be knocked out by.


Re:The end of a giant. (1)

NateTech (50881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133746)

The Malcolm Baldridge Award and the chasing of same is also why you no longer see "Texaco" on any gas stations anymore. One of the world's best brands, laid low by their own inward navel-gazing.

Re:The end of a giant. (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 4 years ago | (#31132814)

The MBA's just can not conceive that people will pay for quality and innovation.

I think this is an artifact of being thinking beings. People cannot conceive of anybody smarter than they. Similarly, they cannot conceive of innovations that they have not seen or experienced.

MBAs are not trained to innovate. They are trained to deal with what is. MBAs do a great job at dealing with commodity businesses - those where innovation isn't nearly as important as streamlining and efficiency. Want to run a steel foundry? Want to run a trucking company? MBAs are exactly what's needed there.

But MBAs are incompetent to run a company that bases itself on innovation! They were pretty consistently kill them. Witness 1990s Apple. Witness DEC. Witness... Motorola. Further, even though they are, practically by definition, incapable of running an innovation company, they are completely unaware of their shortcomings thanks to the Dunning-Kruger effect! [amerika.org]

So what you have is a whole class of highly educated, intelligent people with a gaping blind spot in their vision who, because of their education and intelligent, are like submarine missiles torpedoing high-performance tech companies - the very type of company the USA most needs to survive!

Re:The end of a giant. (1)

NateTech (50881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31133748)

Don't forget their giant egos, which create a political and interpersonal scenario where anyone who disagrees with them, gets run over by the Freight Train of Quality.

MBAs not the problem, x86 had advantage over 68K (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31137074)

The MBA's just can not conceive that people will pay for quality and innovation.

I'm a recent MBA. I've also had a long software development career. I've done a bit of assembly language (6502, 68K, x86, PPC, ...) and 68K was my all-time favorite. I used to have the typical arrogant engineer's disdain of anything business related. I loved business school in part because I loved learning how wrong I was. I used more advanced math in marketing classes than in BS and MS computer science. Most of my marketing professors have undergraduate degrees in electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. I was also far from alone in my class as having an engineering background. Furthermore, business school classmates with non-technical backgrounds such as finance and accounting seem inclined to contact classmates with technical backgrounds to get a second opinion or perspective on technical issues, just as those of us with technical backgrounds contact them for their perspectives and opinions on finance, accounting and other non-technical issues. MBAs are about as accurately portrayed in the media and in popular culture as hackers. I believe situations like mine are far more common than modern mythology suggests.

At a telco company I wrote firmware and a kernel for a custom x86-based board. The lead engineer and the VP of engineering personally preferred the 68K over the x86. I asked why they chose the x86, the answer was that they didn't expect to find someone like me who was comfortable with both 68K and x86 assembly language. They thought it might also help the application programmers using PCs to develop and prototype code before moving it to the embedded environment, making debugging information a little more familiar. Cost was not a big issue since we were using fairly high end x86 CPUs. While I'm sure there are places where the 68K/x86 decision was a pure cost decision, I expect that things are far more complicated than suggested and other factors often came into play.

Perpenso Calc [perpenso.com] for iPhone and iPod touch, scientific and bill/tip calculator, fractions, complex numbers, RPN

its enterprise radio systems operations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31127584)

NX1 or NCC-1701 or NCC-1701a or NCC-1701B or NCC-1701c or NCC-1701D or NCC-1701E ?

or CVN65

The most important question: (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127594)

Which division is going to end up owning those massive headsets with the gigantic batwing logos that they hand out to NFL head coaches?

Re:The most important question: (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127780)

No, that's actually a stupid question. It's right in TFS:

"...The other company emerging from the split will include Motorola's wireless networking business and its enterprise radio systems operations."

Woohoo! (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127608)

Thanks Motorola, AT&T and Verizon. I can now watch TV on three... THREE whole screens. What a lifestyle those guys will allow me.

ok. let me put it this way. TV is shit. It is soul sucking garbage of the shallowest most inane kind.

If this is all the "executives" can come up with, the company is better off dead. Kill it. Kill it before the USA becomes known as the Zombie Nation.


Re:Woohoo! (0, Offtopic)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127866)

If this is all the "executives" can come up with, the company is better off dead. Kill it. Kill it before the USA becomes known as the Zombie Nation.

Too late for that.


How to cause millions of Americans to sincerely adopt a particular fashion, mannerism, or style of speech and wholeheartedly believe that this is their true nature and always has been from the moment they were born: get a popular celebrity to do it first. Then they'll passionately defend it as though it were their own idea because they have no real identity; they long ago de-emphasized such things as family and community that could have provided one. You'll be accused of failing to understand if you think there is something wrong with this or question it in any way, not that this should stop you.

Re:Woohoo! (1)

Bender0x7D1 (536254) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127922)

Kill it before the USA becomes known as the Zombie Nation.

I believe you mean Zombieland [imdb.com] .

Re:Woohoo! (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128548)

I subscribe to the theory that the things in movies which are most disturbing to people are reflections of the society of the time. Zombies in movies represent the unthinking masses who do nothing but consume the flesh and brains of the survivors, never question their reality or existence and have a desire to destroy anything different or that which they can't understand. The irony being of course that most of the people who go to zombie movies could be considered part of the unthinking mass.

I don't think it's a coincidence that zombies as a theme have become more popular in horror stories since TV has become widespread since the 1960s.

Re:Woohoo! (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31130056)

I don't see what TV has to do with this. The future I'm seeing is one in which I have two, maybe three computers, and two, maybe three screens, any one of which can be plugged into another. If I want to watch a 1080p program that's on my phone, I'll dock my phone at a big screen. If I want to have a portable machine, I'll take my laptop, which might just be a phone dock with a keyboard and a screen.

Alternately, I'll just plug my keyboard into my phone if all I'm doing is notetaking. With that kind of setup, I could see me doing entirely without something in the netbook form factor.

More like split into 4 (3, Interesting)

DeathOverlord3 (645635) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127660)

I think you mean Motorola is further splitting themselves up after having spun off its semiconductor components division as On Semi in 1999 and its semiconductor products division as Freescale (arguably the 'real' Motorola - inventor of the 68000 uP) in 2004. Motorola at this point is just an uninspired electronics company with little to no relevance in consumer handheld devices that also makes crummy radios and network products.

Re:More like split into 4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31127770)

No, the 'real' Motorola is the radio business. That's where the name came from. Visit any hilltop communications site and you'll still find lots of Motorola repeaters and base stations.

Re:More like split into 4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31127772)

Since all that stuff already happened, and On Semi an Freescale are now distinct companies, and it is Motorola that is now splitting, I'd say that it's just Motorola that's splitting in two.

Re:More like split into 4 (2)

ishobo (160209) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128700)

The real Motorola is the radio business (car radios, walkie-talkies, base stations, repeaters, etc). The company's first product was a car radio (hence the name Motorola) and they invented the walkie-talkie under a contract with the U.S. War Department. They only got into the semiconductor business to supply their own needs, and did not start producing products for others until 40 years after its founding.

Re:More like split into 4 (1)

kybred (795293) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128706)

arguably the 'real' Motorola - inventor of the 68000 uP

Don't forget the 6800 [wikipedia.org] !

BTW, get off my lawn!

Re:More like split into 4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31198014)

Wikipedia:The Motorola 68000 is a 16/32-bit [1] CISC microprocessor core designed and marketed by Freescale Semiconductor (formerly Motorola Semiconductor Products Sector). Introduced in 1979.

Stupid (4, Interesting)

RobNich (85522) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127666)

I think this is an incredibly stupid decision. Motorola has sold off pieces of their business for cash over the years (spun off their IC division yet continued to buy ICs), while they also acquired other companies for various reasons.

Internally, the company's processes are woefully out of date, considering the ability of competitors like Nokia and Samsung to get products out the door. Splitting the company is not going to solve that.

As a consumer, Motorola has burned me too many times. Their philosophy seems to revolve around putting out as many products as possible, instead of supporting and increasing functionality in their existing product line. When you bought a Motorola handset in the past, you essentially bought a car--closed to the world, no software upgrades, and if you want a slight improvement, you must buy a new one. Contrast that with Apple, who continue to provide updates to their original hardware for years. Look at the resale value of Apple devices in all categories!

Phones are hardware, but the software is key. Motorola took years to realize that, and there are still plenty of people working for the company that have the wrong attitude in this regard. People like flashy hardware, but if the software is buggy and lacking functionality, they will turn to a new source.

Apple has very few products in their handset line, and they sell plenty of them. They also sell wireless networking equipment, and set-top boxes (Apple TV). They currently build, or at least commission, their own ICs (A4 processor). Apple is going stronger than ever. It seems that Motorola's executive leadership are about 5 years behind the times, not on top of the market like they should be. If they weren't so far behind, they would have seen the need for a decent software platform in 2002, and they would see Apple as an example that a multifaceted company can do well in business.

Instead, they milked the RAZR for years, and invested the money it earned in the other businesses, such as the acquisition of Symbol. Then once the mobile device devision was languishing, they wanted to split it away from the "profitable" business!

Re:Stupid (1)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127978)

Phones are hardware, but the software is key.

Actually if either is crap then the whole thing is not worth owning.
A phone with a crap radio is not usable just like one that randomly locks up it's UI.

On the other hand, they could concentrate on their strengths, and manufacture RF chipsets for third parties.
Then someone who's focus is software or UI or slick packaging can focus on what they do well, and have a chance of turning out a solid end product.

Re:Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31127980)

I think you explained why the divestiture makes sense. Top management (and there should be a de-layering, since there is now redundancy at the group management level) needs to be solely focused on mobile and consumer wireless products. They need to sink or swim based on the profitability of that product group, otherwise some raider (Carl Icahn or similar) will come to that conclusion for them.

Re:Stupid (1)

RobNich (85522) | more than 4 years ago | (#31129632)

The reason there is redundancy is the preparations they have been making for the past two years. As a company, they don't need to be focused on a single product or product line. That's not true for Microsoft, Apple, or most other successful large companies.

Motorola has had silo'd business units for ages. Mobile devices is already separate from the other units, and already has it's own "co-CEO". There's nothing about Motorola's other business units that precludes them working together. They're not in competition, after all; there's no overlap in their product lines. On the contrary, there are ways they could take advantage of expertise in one business unit to further the goals of the other.

Re:Stupid (2, Interesting)

SMOKEING (1176111) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128478)

> Phones are hardware, but the software is key. ... but if the software is buggy and lacking functionality,
> they will turn to a new source.

There is a big community around Motorola mobiles (modmymoto.com, motorolafans.com, motofan.ru). For each of their architectures (P2K, MOTOMAGX, EZX), there is a good deal of mods, flashes, skins, language packs, all things software existing in all possible colours and varieties, eventually bumping into the hardware limits. And all of it works.

I bought my L7 back in 2006 in The Netherlands, and it had (reasonably) no Cyrillic support. After a week of texting in translit, I had reflashed it, and have been happily texting ever since -- all it had taken me was, google the matter. Do I owe this improvement to Motorola? Yes, but only for making it possible and not being in the way.

You see the care and attention you seek in Apple's being ever at war with modders, where every next system update wrecks the phone that's been previously jailbroken: I see in this a monumental waste of resources. If Motorola refrains from enfocing their control over the devices they sold to you, this is by no means negligence, and least of all, evil.

Re:Stupid (1)

RobNich (85522) | more than 4 years ago | (#31129750)

While Apple fights it, they put out solid hardware and software. They continue to update the product line, even though they've already sold the older products and have no direct financial gain from it. Why do they continue to support those products? Because consumers remember that, and are willing to buy products that they know Apple will update, rather than abandon.

I'm not talking about aftermarket mods, but your characterization of it is flawed: not all of it works, in fact much of it does not work. Especially for non-technically-oriented users who don't know which software they are able to use. There are dozens if not hundreds of sites, some of which contain conflicting information, conflicting updates, and software that may not work on every device. Since these sites are paid for by advertising, they have no incentive to be accurate, they have more incentive to show up in every search you do on Google.

Motorola has not supported that community at all. As an employee of Motorola, I dealt with a number of P2K software people. (They're all gone now.) MAGX and EZX didn't last for more than a year or two, and the platform is no longer under development. They did not assist the community, I believe the community has thrived only because the technology was so old and antiquated (10 YEARS!) that there are plenty of people in the community with experience with it.

I'm not suggesting that Motorola take "control" of the devices, but a software update after you purchase it would be nice. Especially considering the quality of the software the devices shipping with. And if you apply a software update that you download from a website, you're voiding the warranty and taking a chance that the device will be bricked. They used to provide software updates for iDen phones, but not for the majority of P2K phones.

Re:Stupid (1)

SMOKEING (1176111) | more than 4 years ago | (#31135938)

It appears we put accents differently.

> but a software update after you purchase it would be nice
I believe P2K phones had no directly user-accessible way to apply any updates (well, except rebooting with * and # held pressed etc), and hence, no updates were ever made available. Anyway, the relative simplicity of the underlying OS wouldn't warrant all the trouble of enabling the update mechanism. That is, once the device has been tested in 2006, it will work until the end of time. But, with Android, I do see provisions for updating (my recently bought) Milestone, -- and here it makes a perfect practical sense.

Generally, until they settled on Android, I think Motorola had been in great irresolution about which platform to develop, and possibly, they chose to stick to the tried and true P2K as an interim solution that had lasted too long (10 years as you said). To die in dereliction is the ultimate fate of all embedded Linuxes unless they go all the way and get synced with the mainline. Considering the great flux mobile platforms are in these days, it's hard to blame them for lack of insight.

> I'm not talking about aftermarket mods, ...
> Motorola has not supported that community at all.
And I was emphasising precisely the existence of knowledgeable and helpful community, individuals who literally love the brand, even when this affection seems to be unreturned. Their purpose is not to subvert, break, crack, remove protection, but largely to make a better use of all the hardware is capable of. Put differently, Motorola's indifference here is more like nVidia's stance on the development of nouveau: "We have no intentions to help them, but neither will we be in the way." Whilst Apple's (and Sony's, for an even better example) anal locking down of their devices only tends to provoke untoward efforts for the sake of teenage bravery.

For me in particular, it matters that Motorola does not do some dark obfuscation or encryption or checksumming that prevents any 3rd-party mods from running on their devices. And, in turn, it matters for me that there are many geeks (not crackers) among Motorola owners.

> And if you apply a software update that you download from a website, you're voiding the warranty
That's all true. However, exercising judgment and reading what they write in bold capiltals at the beginning of the howto ("Before reflashing, give a proper think to it and answer this question in double-affirmative: Do you really need reflashing?"), leaves all responsibility with the device owner. All fair.

And if you take it too lightly and eventually brick your phone, there are manuals on how to bring it back to life.

Re:Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31129472)

They currently build, or at least commission, their own ICs (A4 processor) The build ONE processor for ONE product that has not yet been released. Otherwise, they purchase all their processors anywhere else.

Re:Stupid (1)

RobNich (85522) | more than 4 years ago | (#31129552)

The point is that the company can afford to keep the talent necessary to design and build handsets, as well as design and build silicon. The two are not mutually exclusive in a successful company, and there was no reason they could not coexist at Motorola.

whatever happened to the baby HPs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31127764)

and the AT&T spinoffs other than the operating companies.

Might be a good time for a retrospective, including stock price history.

Which one keeps the "Motorola" name? (3, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127790)

... because I *really* like Motorola cell phones. They've always been tanks. My current one is 4 years old, almost 5,000 hours, and has been dropped (and smashed by one angry perp I caught on video who tried to "destroy the evidence") onto concrete.

The weak point was the plug at the bottom for the charger - it stopped working properly a few weeks ago. 10 minutes with the point of a kitchen knife to scrape off the accumulated gunk and it's good as new!

Re:Which one keeps the "Motorola" name? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31127942)

Which one keeps the "Motorola" name?

Seriously? RTFS

Re:Which one keeps the "Motorola" name? (2, Interesting)

gnalle (125916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128396)

I once had a Motorola razor phone, and the user interface was horrible. The menu tree was too deep, and it was often difficult to guess which submenu contained which menu item.

I am for one not surprised that the company ended up in trouble.

Re:Which one keeps the "Motorola" name? (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128818)

Depends which Razor.. I had one on T-Mobile and I thought the UI, though not great, was ok.. when my moms phone quit working on her I got her a Razor for a replacement.. She is on Sprint.. I absolutely hated the Sprint versions UI.. If I had known it, I wouldn't have gotten it for her.

Re:Which one keeps the "Motorola" name? (1)

gnalle (125916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128904)

I am not sure which version I had. I bought the phone on e-bay, and it didn't live long.

Re:Which one keeps the "Motorola" name? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31131878)

I know some people who work in Motorola's mobile devices. Two things that I learned that really stuck with me are:

- Sometime in the 90's carriers took over design of the UI. Its one of the reasons (probably not the only one) that it took an outsider (Apple) to kick the mobile industry in the pants.
- Motorola is a hardware company. Software is secondary to the company. This is why the Razor was a success - it was all size and form factor - hardware considerations.

The odd part about this is it seems like Motorola is starting a resurgence now that it realized it can't do software and is leaning on Android for that piece (instead of windows mobile). Droid was the best phone on the market when it came out (IMHO, the sheer practicality of its GPS put it over iPhone, but each is entitled to his/her opinion). The touch pad on the back of the flip is a neat idea. They really seem to be innovating again.

Razor was a fad. It was all size and form factor. How do you build on that? It seems like its easier to build on the ideas behind their current smart phones. HDMI output seems to be next coupled with faster processors. Eventually it will be a wireless keyboard and you'll have a mobile PC replacement - at least for email/web surfing/media viewing.

Re:Which one keeps the "Motorola" name? (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128516)

Anecdotes go only so far.
I've got a HTC Himalaya somewhere which also was abused a lot. It must be 6 years old now, was equipped with WM2003 back then but works even with WM6. Had to replace the battery twice, but other than that it just works.

Re:Which one keeps the "Motorola" name? (1)

JoeRandomHacker (983775) | more than 4 years ago | (#31144094)

Disclosure: I am a current Motorola Home employee, but I have no insider insights into the split planning process.

This is speculation on my part, but it seems like both halves of the company may take on new names. However, the Mobile Devices/Home company will own the Motorola brand and license it royalty-free to the Government/Enterprise/Networks half of the company. (This was included in the public announcement on Thursday.) It will be messy, but it will allow both halves to carry on for a while while (potentially) building new brands.

It will be an interesting ride. The Home and Mobile Devices units have been part of the same company for a while, but never seemed to collaborate much. I'm guessing that will be changing, along with some of the culture and organization in Home. I expect it to be somewhat painful, but worth it.

Re:Which one keeps the "Motorola" name? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31148802)

All I know is that there are a lot of us who like the brand. Back when the first RAZRs came out, I knew someone who had been on an incompatible network for a decade - $800 a month was his usual cell-phone bill - they couldn't carry the RAZR, so he went out and bought one ($1k) and switched networks.

*THAT* is brand loyalty.

Slow disintegration (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31127924)

I worked for Motorola for five years back in better times.

This summary is from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola

... Iridium filed for bankruptcy in 1999 caused Semiconductor Components Group, (standard analog and standard logic devices) to spin off the ON Semiconductor

...declines in business during 2000 and 2001 caused Motorola to spin off its Government Electronics Division (GED) to General Dynamics.

...October 16, 2003 ... spun off its Semiconductor Products Sector [IC's/microprocessors etc.] into Freescale Semiconductor, Inc..

... July, 2006 Motorola completed the sale of its automotive business (vehicle navigation, engine/transmission, sensors steering/braking/doors) to Continental AG.

...October, 2008, Motorola sold its Biometrics business to Safran, a French defense firm.

... March 26, 2008 (after failing to find a buyer for its phone division) , board of directors approved a split into two different publicly traded companies.
          split has since been indefinitely delayed due to company restructuring problems and the 2008-2009 extreme economic downturn.

... February 11, 2010, Motorola announced its separation into two independent, publicly traded companies.

2008 news (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31127970)

Motorola to split, shocking news unfolding ...

They hired Sanjay Jha from Qualcomm in 2008 with express intent of making him head of the cellphone company to split off. In fact Jha's contract has stipulations that he would get a buttlaod of money as compensation if this does not happen.

Symbol to be egested (2, Informative)

El Royo (907295) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128144)

This isn't really too surprising. When they purchased Symbol Technologies [symbol.com] they were making a play for the wireless networking IP. I really didn't think they were very interested in holding on to the bar code scanning end of that business. Symbol is a big player in my industry so I'm very interested to see how those technologies get split up. I suppose we'll be getting much better details soon (or maybe I could have RTFA).

Re:Symbol to be egested (1)

sillivalley (411349) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128840)

the planned split is in two: the Moto name goes with cell phones and consumer.

The other part is enterprise radios plus the wireless biz...

With the expectation that wireless will be spun out as soon as they can find someone gullible enough...

Poor Symbol -- when Moto bought them they had dreams of World Domination -- after all, now they had the financial and technical backing of Moto, right? What a surprise to find out that they're on an even shorter financial leash, and expected to pay tribute to their new masters and operate under their financial models...

Maybe they'll be better off on their own again, just having to compete against Cisco, rather than having to compete against the drooling idiots (^H^H skilled MBAs) down the hall, people supposedly on their side...

How will they name the new companies ?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128150)

Moto & Rola ?
Mtrl & Oooa ?

Netopia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128208)

What's going to happen to the Netopia unit?
The business-class routers are pretty solid little devices when connecting remote offices and setting up VPNs.

I read originally (when this was still "unconfirmed") that the one company would take over the mobile handset and set-top units while the other would take everything else, including the wired and wireless networking units.

"Motorola" means squat at the moment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128386)

With the fact that they break their products with "updates" https://supportforums.motorola.com/thread/16191?start=0&tstart=0 on the Droid for starters, there are tons of other issues with email, SSL, practically everything a business would need. I'm not surprise. They probably will not keep the name, hoping that their bad rap-sheet does not follow.
And they also can't keep their word. They promised (search on any search engine will find several links) a 2.1 Android update for the Droid this week. I'm still waiting. My Droid is siting beside me, still broken.
But even if or when the Droid get's the 2.1 update promised. All I can hope is they manage to actually FIX a problem or two, instead of breaking it even more.
And because I own the Droid, I stay up on it's problems. A friend bought the Cliq, it's got almost as many problems. You would think that they could at least learn from earlier mistakes.

Sanjay Jha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128520)

I'm sure Sanjay Jha's $100 million salary will inspire him to resurrect the company. Hahahhahaha!

It worked so well (1)

rdean400 (322321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128560)

...for AT&T (where other companies came in and swooped up the remnants of the failed split) and Palm and Motorola's previous split.

It's the standard Icahn strategy: split the companies to make the shareholders more short-term money, at the expense of a lasting (and ultimately more profitable) presence in the industry. The pieces will wither until they get scooped up for pennies.

plus 3, TroLl) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128876)

won't be standing 3uring tXhis file they're gone Mac

No worries for their commercial radio (1)

transporter_ii (986545) | more than 4 years ago | (#31129190)

They put out poor to mid-quality radios, with a solid one here or there, with a large number used in public entities and paid for with taxpayer money...and then the cash rolls in as they force dealers and users to buy updated programming software every time they turn around (ok, you get updates for a year, but just about the time your subscription runs out, is when someone walks through the door with an updated radio firmware version that you can't program with the software you just paid hundreds of dollars for just 13 months ago.)

And with the mandated move to P25, motorola is just bending taxpayers over. And a few years from now, taxpayers will get bent over again when the entities using them are forced to buy updated programming software for radios that are just a few years old.

Forget winning the lottery, the scam that is motorola commercial radios is where it is at.

With some of the crap they pulling now, I wouldn't mind it if some lawsuits started flying to return some money to the agencies that purchased the stuff.

A split? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31130374)

Will the two resulting companies be named Moto and Rola?

Timbuktu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31132684)

I wonder what will become of Timbuktu.... the remote control software they now control since they acquired Netopia.

The whole is more than the sum of its parts (1)

fragMasterFlash (989911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31132692)

Remember when HP spun off Agilent? They basically sold their soul to in the name of becoming a cash generating machine. No one I know associates HP with innovation anymore. It will be sad if the same comes to pass with Motorola.
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