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Google Will Cut 1,200 More Jobs At Motorola Mobility 112

Posted by Soulskill
from the cutting-deep-to-clean-house dept.
alphadogg writes "Motorola Mobility is cutting 1,200 staff, in addition to a reduction of 4,000 staff it announced in August, to focus on high-end devices. 'These cuts are a continuation of the reductions we announced last summer,' said Motorola. 'It's obviously very hard for the employees concerned, and we are committed to helping them through this difficult transition.' Motorola's mobile business has been overwhelmed in the smartphone market by larger players such as Samsung Electronics, Apple, Sony, Huawei Technologies and ZTE."
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Google Will Cut 1,200 More Jobs At Motorola Mobility

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  • by Sterculius (2856655) on Friday March 08, 2013 @12:08PM (#43116545)
    That's what those workers deserved. I'm sure they were making more than some third world country worker would work for. They can all go out and start their own businesses.
    • Re:serves them right (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 08, 2013 @12:28PM (#43116829)

      As a former Motorola employee, they actually did deserve it. I left the company because they were fulfilling the 80/20 Pareto principle. I was part of the 20% of people doing 80% of the work and not getting jack above the bare minimum to show for it. Google has been salivating at the thought of cutting loose all that extra dead weight and getting the batwings back into a lean, mean shape, but they just can't do it too fast.

      • should learn from Google on how to cut people.

      • by jythie (914043)
        The strange thing is, the Motorola Mobility in my area is actually hiring, though from reading threads about the site it appears they have a VERY high turn overrate and very shark infested culture.. so I guess the particular location fires so many people every year that even with the cuts the still need to hire more.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        As a former Motorola employee, they actually did deserve it. I left the company because they were fulfilling the 80/20 Pareto principle. I was part of the 20% of people doing 80% of the work and not getting jack above the bare minimum to show for it. Google has been salivating at the thought of cutting loose all that extra dead weight and getting the batwings back into a lean, mean shape, but they just can't do it too fast.

        Posting anon... I have nothing to add except that 1) I worked in Motorola also, and 2) you are absolutely right on the money. Some companies are burdened by fat. Motorola, however, it is burdened by malignant growths.

        Actually, I have something to add: Outsiders and ex-Motorolans like to complain that it was the executive overlords, the always maligned pointy-haired bosses who screwed the company.

        WHAT. A. LOAD. OF. BULLSHIT.

        There were incompentent parasites across the board. The 80/20 Pareto principl

    • by amiga3D (567632)

      Actually they need to cut the dead weight at the top more than anything. I still remember the jackass exec that mouthed off that anyone interested in rooting their phones should buy it from somebody else. I bought a Samsung and he can kiss my ass. That kind of attitude is why I'm glad they are suffering. Too bad about the worker bees but when you've got that kind of management it's bound to happen.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The running charge for purchasing those patents must be getting too large to ignore.

    • I imagine the plan all along was to gut the company - Google was just after the patents.

      The partner companies were useful when Android needed to be established, but now they're in the way (similar to the situation Microsoft finds itself in now). Fortunately for Samsung, they are bigger than Google... but note that Samsung is pursuing alternatives.

  • Not Evil (Score:1, Troll)

    by pellik (193063)
    Buying companies to gut them and fire the employees is not evil, otherwise Google would never do it.
    • Re:Not Evil (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ADRA (37398) on Friday March 08, 2013 @12:28PM (#43116825)

      No firings after an aquisition is like telling raging barbarians not to rape and murder. It just doesn't happen. Some companies will actually pump resources into its new appendage, but thats a lot more common when you acquire very young companies that couldn't self capitalize expansion.

    • Re:Not Evil (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 08, 2013 @12:32PM (#43116877)

      If Google hadn't bought them, Motorola would have either been out of business or even smaller by now. They're not killing anybody, just asking people to find new jobs. That's tough, but it won't kill them.

      I don't see how getting a company into shape where they're not losing money is supposed to be "evil".

      Either we pull our weight in this world, or somebody else pulls it for us. Who is supposed to pull Motorola's weight?

  • Seriously.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tech.kyle (2800087) on Friday March 08, 2013 @12:14PM (#43116633)
    Am I the only one that was hoping Google would take Motorola and do a complete 180 to start developing really awesome phones that aren't locked down? What are their plans for the company? I think Google is starting to turn evil, guys.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      People have been saying this for a long time. Either you're late, or Google is just keeping the evil to a low simmer, which I fear is about the best we can hope for in a world full of corporations.

    • What are their plans for the company?

      Keep the patents, toss the rest.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ebno-10db (1459097)

      I think Google is starting to turn evil, guys.

      Google: do no evil

      Haven't you ever heard of the Big Lie theory? [wikipedia.org]

    • Re:Seriously.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 08, 2013 @12:45PM (#43117039)

      I've worked in Motorola before it was split to Mobilty and Solutions. I have contacts there and had a good understanding of what was going on in Mobility. I'll bet Google had no idea the mess of a company they were buying. Mobility was a disaster, talent and culture-wise. If anything, Google probably hasn't gutted Mobility enough if they want to get something productive out of the purchase. There are some really good people there, but they were really opposed and held back by culture, management, and incompetent co-workers.

      • by wift (164108)

        That sounds like every company/government/group/band ever.

      • Insights like these are why I read through the comments on Slashdot. Thank you.

        You mentioned people were held back by the company. The impression I've had so far is that there are, like you say, good people designing good phones, but there's some higher-ups who are shooting everything down.

        I bought a Motorola phone (Droid X2) when it was fairly new because it looked very good on paper (and it was), but the support and general service policy was terrible. It only saw three OTAs and Motorola was very ba
    • Re:Seriously.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mlts (1038732) * on Friday March 08, 2013 @12:58PM (#43117169)

      Devil's advocate:

      One of the reasons I am guessing that Google is being conservative with the Motorola division is the concern about being viewed as a monopoly. If Google does too much with MM, other Android makers (Samsung, Huawei, ZTE) will jump ship for other operating systems like Windows 8.

      There is also the fact that there is the fear of being viewed as a monopoly by the EU.

      Regardless, it would be nice if Motorola would do like what Sony, HTC, and others offer, and give a way to unlock the bootloader. I like Motorola phones, but I won't buy another one unless there is a way to do this.

    • You're preaching to the choir. I'd *kill* for a totally-open & unlocked best-of-breed awe-inspiring Moto Nexus-M w/4000mAH extended battery. Hell, I don't even care if it's chained to AT&T, as long as the bootloader isn't locked & the kernel modules are either open source or built for the latest kernel's ABI. Moto makes awesome hardware, crippled by management-imposed crippled & locked down firmware.

      • by mlts (1038732) *

        If it were up to me, I'd be seeing about more of the computer-replacement technology that appeared in the Atrix, the Atrix 2, and other devices before it was axed. Couple that with a USB port so a keyboard and mouse could be attached, and this could function as a terminal for Citrix, RDP, or ssh if need be.

        Of course, "fastboot oem unlock" would be on all devices, as well as a method of re-flashing ROMs that don't require a special program for FXZ, SHX or other files.

        • by idontgno (624372)

          The last bastion of that was the Razor and Droid 4 with lapdock.

          I have them (Droid 4 and Lapdock 500). Yes, it's pretty awesome. Although the Droid 4 has probably the best slider keyboard on the market, so SSH without the lapdock is actually pretty good too.

          But my experiences with the Droid 4 pretty much embody much of what's being said here: Great engineering, crippled by lack of support and upgrades (I'm still running Android 4.0.4, and I don't think I'm gonna catch a sniff of 4.1 or 4.2 before the phone

          • by mlts (1038732) *

            This is something I wish Moto would continue developing. Create a lapdock with a SD card slot for backups, allow people to have their own Linux distro, and it would be very useful as a computer for emergencies.

            If Moto made the lapdock usable between phone generations, it would make a perfect place for backups, possibly migrating apps and data to a new device come upgrade time.

            My last Moto phone, the Atrix 2, had great engineering, but because of the bootloader issue, and the fact that it took a good long w

    • by Andrio (2580551)
      The purchase was completed just last year. But even at the time of the purchase, the internal "gears" of Motorola were still turning, indifferent to the purchase. They had like at least a year's worth of pre-Google roadmap to complete.

      Those gears are winding down finally, and Google will be free to turn them any way they want. It's already happening, with the "Nexus X" phone rumored to come out this year.

      As for the layoffs... my sympathy to the workers and their families, but this was Motorola's doing, not
      • by mlts (1038732) *

        I'd like to see Google get Motorola to make devices, not one for each provider, but devices that are either CDMA/LTE, GSM/LTE, or perhaps best of all, both. That way, it would be less about having rudimentary support for different phones, but being able to focus on a few devices at a time for ROM updates. It would be nice to see Android updates for a phone that would go past the 6-12 month mark.

        Of course, doing like HTC and having source for the drivers and other parts of the ROM would be nice, perhaps ev

    • Am I the only one that was hoping Google would take Motorola and do a complete 180 to start developing really awesome phones that aren't locked down?

      No, lots of people were saying that from the first time reports of a Google buying Motorola appeared. Of course, the dev pipeline for a mobile phone is not short, and we haven't even gotten to the point where a product that was started after the acquisition would be out of the pipeline, so its quite possible they are still planning on doing that.

      What are their

    • by kidgenius (704962)
      They likely ARE developing really awesome phones. You just haven't seem them yet. It takes about 12-18 months before a new phone can come out from when development begins.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I have the latest Motorola razr phone. It's friggen beautiful. Hard to believe they are cutting jobs.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why is it hard to believe that when one company buys out another, some employees are no longer needed?

      Example: A parent company buys another company that uses a platform very similar to one that is already in use by the parent company, except the one in use costs about half as much to support and develop. The other company is being moved onto the parent company's platform, what do you think is going to happen to the workers at the other company who maintained their platform?

    • by amiga3D (567632)

      Bad management means that no matter how great your products might be you are still screwed. Commdore Business Machines made more money their last year in business than ever before but the massive hole the idiots running the place (Mehdi Ali and Irving Gould) had blown in the bottom of the boat meant they couldn't bail enough water to possibly stay afloat. It takes savvy businessmen as well as great engineering to make a profitable company.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Unless you got the HD version it has a pathetic screen. Locked bootloader is never beautiful.

  • Wake up Google (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Friday March 08, 2013 @12:28PM (#43116827)

    You bought a cellphone manufacturer but then use other companies to make Nexus products, and those companies are unable to keep up with even the limited demand of the Nexus brand.

    Then you are carrying on your back's a company that has been unable to offer a compelling product since the original Droid phone (which turned out to be a dismal phone).

    How about axing Motorola and rebranding them as Nexus, period. Throw out anybody that made decision about Motorola phones for the last 10 years and hire some new innovative people to manage that division.

    Honestly, sometimes it just seems like Google doesn't now how to run themselves in spite of billions in profit. The are succeeding in spite of themselves.

    • by bgarcia (33222)
      This was upvoted?

      You bought a cellphone manufacturer but then use other companies to make Nexus products

      Dude, the deal with LG to make the Nexus 4 was in place before they bought Motorola. It takes a while to develop new hardware. Have patience.

    • Throw out anybody that made decision about Motorola phones for the last 10 years

      Why? The latest Moto phones are awesome. Oh, that's right, modern management strategy: change things to show you're "doing something". Don't worry about silly things like what was being done well in the past. When your big screwup (oops, I mean change) becomes apparent, just blame it on some uncontrollable and unforeseeable factors, like evil spirits.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Which ones are those?

        All the RAZRs, but the HDs have pathetic screens. Blur sucks, and they paid to created it. Find the idiot in charge of that and fire him. Locked bootloaders cost money to do and again attract no buyers, but do earn you bad PR. Being months behind on updates is also shit. Finally the RAZRS are getting 4.1, now in March! They should be on 4.2.2 by now.

        • Which ones are those?

          All the RAZRs, but the HDs have pathetic screens.

          Which ones? You said it yourself - the RAZR's (I'll take you word on the HD's as I'm not that familiar with them). But the OP said "throw out anybody that made decision about Motorola phones for the last 10 years", which is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            The RAZRs suck too. Just for other reasons. Honestly everyone who made those decisions should never be able to get a job in that industry again.

    • You bought a cellphone manufacturer but then use other companies to make Nexus products

      The Open Handset Alliance is arguably more valuable to Google than Motorola is, plus, they haven't owned Motorola long enough for a new design to get through the pipeline anyway.

      How about axing Motorola and rebranding them as Nexus, period.

      If Google wanted to be Apple, that's probably what they would have done. Google, apparently, doesn't want to be Apple.

    • Honestly, sometimes it just seems like Google doesn't now how to run themselves in spite of billions in profit. The are succeeding in spite of themselves.

      OTOH there I agree with you. Obviously they've been enormously successful, but it all goes back to a better search engine and ad revenue. They've certainly made some nice acquisitions, like YouTube, Google Maps and Android. Maybe Moto if they don't screw it up, but an Internet services company and a hardware manufacturer are very different things. But do they really have a strategy? They've got so much cash that it seems like they fish in every pond they can find, hoping to catch another big one. Maybe in t

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Google knows how to run an ad network, very successfully. This doesn't immediately translate to product centric businesses.

    • Google bought Motorola because of Patent trolling by Microsoft / Apple. They don't want Motorola to dominate the industry because it's more important for Google to have everybody using Android than Motorola grow. I get the feeling that the Nexus line being thrown to other companies was all about promoting trust despite owning one of the industry's big players, and it's worked.

      Compare that to the industry's stance on the Microsoft Surface.... Dell/HP are pissed as hell. Dell is openly selling Android tablets

    • If google got into the hardware business watch how fast Samsung et. al. ditch Android either by forking it and creating their own incompatitable version or going elsewhere for a mobile OS.

      Remember, kids these days are buying Samsung phones because they are "hip". Not because they are running Android. If Samsung could still create the hip factor with Windows 8 or their own version of the Android OS, which they have the size and ability to do, they would.

      It's no different than Microsoft building their Surfa

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Supporting anecdote: On a visit to my friend's house recently, my friend's 17 year old daughter (don't be creepy, fellas) was excited to tell me that she had a new phone. She was pretty happy about it, as she had spent several months saving up the money from her part-time job to make the purchase - it was her first "fancy" phone.

        I said to her, "Very cool, what phone did you get?"
        She pulled it out - a shiny new Galaxy S III.
        I said, "Ah, good choice, you got an Android phone!"
        She looked at me, puzzled, and

        • Seventeen is getting kind of old for tech stuff. Whenever I have a question I ask my nine year old daughter. She's very helpful, but then gives me a look and says "daddy, I thought you were an electrical engineer". Me: shut up kid.
    • Nothing moves and stops on a dime. I read somewhere that there is an eighteen-month long logistics train that leads up to the release of a smartphone product. That is to say, a cellphone on the market today was designed, manufactured, assembled, inventoried, marketed, etc. starting from 18 months ago. So not only did Google have to sell the products that they already committed themselves to, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the LG Nexus 4, and the Asus Nexus 7, they also had to sell the current Motorola devices. T

    • by Animats (122034)

      Honestly, sometimes it just seems like Google doesn't now how to run themselves in spite of billions in profit. The are succeeding in spite of themselves.

      Google's business is pay-per-click ads. They're really good at pay-per-click ads. Most of their other activities lose money. Google has tried a wide range of products and services, looking for the Next Big Moneymaker. So far, fail.

      This is their second try at phones. In a year, we'll know if it generates profits.

    • by mlts (1038732) *

      Devil's advocate:

      Motorola has some things they are good at. For example, their radios tend to be top of the line for call quality in my experience, at least on par with iPhones.

      MM's problems are not impossible to solve. One key that Motorola has advertised is enterprise-level friendliness and security. Google could run with that to help get their devices more entrenched into businesses.

      After that, choose a niche for MM. Do they compete on the low-end with Huawei and ZTE, the high-end against Samsung and

      • I agree here. Motorola was one of the few companies whose handsets felt good. Their hardware was the only thing that came close to Nokia. This is before Apple came along. And no, Samsung was not in the same league. I still believe Motorola could make good high end phones. Couple this with Google's money and the preferential software cohesiveness and we might see a great comeback.
  • by swschrad (312009) on Friday March 08, 2013 @12:35PM (#43116911) Homepage Journal

    by now the echoes in the buildings should have died down with all the cuts.

  • I never thought it possible, but Nokia is actually seeming more stable than a Google backed Motorola...
  • by tlambert (566799) on Friday March 08, 2013 @12:51PM (#43117103)

    Doesn't anyone read their 10-K filings?

    The recent ones pretty much say plain as day that the carriers are all pushing for higher ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) by driving up the cost of data plans which at the same time deemphasizing voice services. This basically means everyone wants to sell smart phones, and could care less about feature phones or voice-centric phones which are primarily being used for calls and/or text messages.

    This has been in their 10-K filings with the SEC for the last 3 years that they have been headed this direction. It the same reason the European feature-phone and voice-centric phone manufacturers are also doing so terribly in most markets as higher speed data services are being rolled out: they are piss-poor vehicles for getting higher ARPU numbers when the cell phone market has basically come so close to saturation that many people are getting rid of their land lines in favor of cell phones (specifically, smart phones).

    So this has basically been their plan of record for two years before Google got involved with them at all.

    Yeah, Google gets a pretty good defensive patent portfolio out of it, but the Nortel portfolio that Apple, Microsoft, Rim. Sony,and Ericson got their grubby mitts on in July 2011 - 6,000 fairly important patents which cost them a combined $4.5B dollars. And unlike the Motorola, which are FRAND licensed to all comers, the Nortel patents are not.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 08, 2013 @12:51PM (#43117111)

    The handset segment of Motorola's business has suffered for nearly a decade with very lackluster management, and had an excellent engineering staff (all those innovations and patents didn't just magically appear). Each successive management team took more and more money out of the company, culminating with the largest exporter of cash, Dr. Sanjay Jha.
    Google. Under Dennis Woodside (an M&A lawyer, not a technologist), is not much different. In the last six months, they have let go the inventor of the most lucrative patent they have litigated against Apple, they have RIF'd their most prolific inventor, let go the design chief of the most popular and profitable smartphone design to date (not Jim Wicks, unfortunately). The Google CFO blames lackluster results on "an aging pipeline of products", and it takes "18 months to deliver new ones". Well, sorry folks.. it doesn't take 18 months, it takes 9...those products should be out by now...
    Google is managing this subsidiary like it's a internet software company, and then following the Apple-Samsung strategy of doing fewer designs (when apple and Samsung are now branching out, and doing more). The wrong HR strategy, the wrong market strategy, and the wrong outside management, it is no small wonder the remaining technology talent are leaving in droves. The only difference between MMI and the Titanic? The Titanic, at least, had a band.

  • Google is to Motorola as an excited six-year-old is to a box of cereal with a prize inside: Moto's patent portfolio was the only part Google cared about. They rest of the company is filler, except to the extent that it generates more patents.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Motorola is also notorious in the phone rooting community for being one of the most painful to work with. Anyone including that as criteria when considering a new phone immediately discounts them.

    • by speedlaw (878924)
      That's not a bug, it's a feature. Hams and business radio users also have to back to Moto to get their radios programmed. In Moto World, there is no such thing as user modifications.
  • "It's obviously very hard for the employees concerned, and we are committed to helping them through this difficult transition."

    Helping them == Walking with them to the car in the parking lot.

    GTFO!!!

  • Eventually there will be NO Motorola employees.

    The last guy will come to the conclusion that he will have to fire himself.

  • There's a whitehouse petition online now to try to curb H1B abuses. Maybe if it wasn't so easy to bring in cheap labor, companies like Google and Motorola might treat their people a little better: http://wh.gov/7BqR [wh.gov]

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