Motorola, one of fortune 500 companies, is famous for its continuous innovation and leadership in the field of wireless network and telecommunications in the past. It’s Motorola who invents first mobile phone in the world. And the most classic mobile phone from Motorola we could remember is Razr V3 which ranks top 12 of most popular and best technological products in the past 50 years. Motorola Razr series phones ever achieved sales in 100 million. It’s also Razr series phones that saved Motorola from downturn and helped Motorola gain 23.3% market share. Because of single product line and lack of reform, after 2006, Motorola began to go downhill. In the end of 2007, Motorola just had 11.9% market share of mobile phone.
While in Sep 2009, Motorola announced its first Android phone and began to turn to Android completely. In 2009 and 2010, Motorola rose again by its Droid and Milestone series phones which even overwhelmed iPhone 3GS. In January 2011, Motorola was divided officially into two independent companies, Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions. Under pressure from other android makers and iPhone, Motorola Mobility went downhill again from first season of 2011. And finally Google announced successful acquisition of Motorola Mobility in Aug 2012.
Google ever said that the main reason for them to purchase Motorola Mobility was for its more than 17 thousand patents. Android expands so fast, and Google knows that they should protect, improve and control Android better.
But many people actually care about two questions: will Google involve in hardware manufacturing? What’s the future of Motorola? Actually, the way of Motorola Mobility in the future depends on whether Google will involve in hardware manufacturing.
As far as I can see, Google will enter hardware manufacturing but not in the short term. Motorola Mobility cuts down number of employees globally. Even it begins to shut down and sell factories to reduce spending. On one hand, Motorola product lines are too complicated and organization is overstaffing, while they are still on a financial losses, and they need to do something to get rid of losses. On the other hand, Google actually want to slim Motorola Mobility and make it a highly effective research and development center of hardware. That’s because in future Google will involve in mobile devices manufacturing. Actually, Google has the ability, advantages and intention to realize that.
First, Motorola Mobility is an innovative and outstanding mobile devices maker with great research and development ability. And Motorola Mobility does have the ability to produce even one phone to compete with others. Before, Motorola rose by just Razr V3 and its shipments achieved 250 million while iPhone achieved that after 5 years. Second, although Motorola went downhill from 2007. But it rose up again by Android phones. In this aspect, we see Motorola’s ability of creation including research and development even commercial channels. One of reasons for Google to choose Motorola Mobility is that Moto has ability to just produce one phone (like Razr V3) to gain market share, which pattern a little bit similar with Apple.
For Google, they have advantages in platform, maps and applications. Along with integration of Motorola Mobility and Google, it’s natural to form a strong Android ecosystem.
Actually, Former CEO of Google ever said Larry and Sergey did want to involve in hardware manufacturing. From Nexus Q, Google Glass we can see Google’s intention in hardware. And even Nexus 7 although it is made by ASUS, but Google involves deeply in the designing. Well, maybe it would confirms Alan Kay’s words again that People who treat software seriously should make hardware by themselves.
But you may ask why Google don’t start it now and let Motorola Mobility produce Nexus 7 and Nexus 4? Well, that’s what I said that Google won’t involve directly in manufacturing phones or tablet in the short term. In the present, In order to strengthen Android, Google still need to stay with others like Sony and HTC to expand Android. Above all, competition between ecosystems is fierce. Android has to face pressure from iOS and Windows Phone. Early involvement for Google in hardware manufacturing would hurt other Android device makers’ confidence and resolution. And it’s bad for Google if that happens, because we know development and expansion of Android depends on lots of device makers’ involvement. In the short term, Google’s actions in hardware now are mainly to make Android ecosystem stronger by integration of hardware.
And downsizing of Motorola Mobility is just mainly to cast it as a research and development of center with high efficiency, on this aspect, it’s normal to cut down number of employees and even sell factories. When the time comes, Google will produce a Google-brand phone, and at that time, Google may launch self-owned brand (in order to compete with Apple or Microsoft or RIM in hardware and software), so Motorola’s fate is also clear then. We won’t hear Hello Moto again but goodbye Moto. It will disappear in the end and becomes a research and development center of hardware.
That day will come. And then, actually how to keep balance between Google self-owned branded Android devices and other Android devices will be a tough problem for Google.