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The Eye!

Formerly know as My Mind's Eye! Concept under major reworking! 

Friday, February 01, 2008

7:23 PM - Motorola's wayward path

This is a mobile blog of sorts. So maybe I should do mobile news here. So from the Chicago Tribune today is a story about Motorola and how they may sell off their cell phone business...
It was shortly after Motorola Inc.'s Edward Zander declared "more Razrs" that the mantra started to backfire.

Zander, then CEO of the Schaumburg-based technology giant, was riding a stupendous crest in July 2006 when he was asked what was next for Motorola after the hit Razr mobile phone.

"More Razrs," he said. "It is something we are going to continue for quite some time."

Competitors followed suit, turning the thin, must-have phone into a commodity now found for free.

Nothing has been the same since for struggling Motorola, which said Thursday it is considering restructuring the company, including whether to separate the mobile phone division from its other businesses. That means Motorola, one of the most prominent names in technology, could exit the phone business it pioneered by seeking a buyer.

The problems for the tumbling phone division are complex, but one thing is clear: It was a fateful decision to exploit the Razr's success with a series of phones -- the Krzr, Rizr, Slvr, Q and now Razr 2 -- that mimicked the Razr's style but not its original cachet.

The company couldn't follow up with another breakout hit, market share and the stock price have plummeted, Zander left the top job in December and now the future of the company is uncertain.

"Motorola lost their way," said Karen Norkus, a senior sales representative for a Chicago Verizon Wireless store. "Customers started shying away from them because there was never anything strong after the Razr."

Customers also aren't clamoring for the Q smart phone, she said, noting that she sold three BlackBerry models on Thursday.

"Sales for Motorola's smart phone have gone down," she said, referring to sales at her Michigan Avenue store.

Aza Raskin, a Chicago software designer who recently joined the Mozilla Foundation, a Web programming concern, said Motorola seemed to rest on its laurels.

"If you talked to people when the Razr first came out in 2004, they loved how thin it was. It had a sexiness to it," he said. "It was groundbreaking but they couldn't follow up.

"So the question is, 'What comes next?'"

'Beholden' to carriers

And in Raskin's view, he would work on breaking down Motorola's reliance on providing U.S. wireless carriers with products to suit their needs, and focus on meeting consumer needs, as mobile phone-makers do elsewhere.

"The cell phone-maker is beholden to the carrier in this country," he said. "I know Motorola has a lot of cool stuff in its labs. I've seen it. But it must be frustrating because they have to make what the carriers want."
I like Motorola so they'd better get it together quick!

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