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Lenovo Lays Off a Chunk of Its Motorola Smartphone Team 48

On Friday, Lenovo confirmed layoffs for the Motorola group in Chicago, where the company designs its modular Moto Z smartphones. "In a statement to 9to5Google, Lenovo denied that it was axing 50% of the workforce, as the site had suggested, but didn't provide any further specifics," reports Fast Company. Android Police now reports that 190 people were laid off. A separate report of theirs claims that the company has "completely abandoned plans to launch the successor to last year's Moto X4, the as-yet unannounced Moto X5." Furthermore, "Motorola will be narrowing its focus back to E, G, and Z phones for the time being," reports Android Police. "It's possible the Moto X name could return at some point, but that's looking unlikely in light of this news." The source also says Motorola will be largely discontinuing its efforts to develop all-new, eccentric MotoMods for its Z phone. The likelihood that MotoMods will continue to be sold after 2019 is looking very slim.

Lenovo Lays Off a Chunk of Its Motorola Smartphone Team

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  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Friday March 09, 2018 @09:41PM (#56236813) Homepage Journal

    I have a generic android phone which I bought online from shanghai. I paid about half the cost of a Motorola in the shop. Its no wonder the big brands are scaling back production.

    • Does it work in the US on Verizon?
      • I don't know. I am in Australia and I have no complaints. It supports a wide range of 3G and 4G frequencies. I bought it from gearbest.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    That's unamerican!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Phones like the Moto G series are low-priced, non-bloated, and great alternatives to flagship phones for a LOT of people... Maybe a greater company focus on this line would help them work out a few of the kinks and make them more successful.

    • by r1348 ( 2567295 )

      Used to.
      I bought my wife a Moto G5S Plus, and it came with Outlook and LinkedIn pre-installed.
      And it's still waiting for the promised Oreo update.

      • I bought a Moto G5S Plus directly from Motorola last month and it did not have any bloatware installed. It's possible that they were installing junk and stopped doing it, but my guess is that middlemen are to blame.
        • by r1348 ( 2567295 )

          I know that there are several firmware versions out there, mine in particular is the retail EU version, bought off Amazon.

  • Goodbye Moto! I remember the head of Motorola years ago saying if you wanted to root a phone buy a phone from someone else. I followed his advice as did a lot of other people. Always good to see arrogant asses fail.

    • Re: Ceeya! (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 09, 2018 @11:06PM (#56237123)

      Motorola let you root any of their phones. They have a part of their website that gives you an unlock code. Been that way for at least 3 years. Probably more.

    • Re:Ceeya! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Saturday March 10, 2018 @01:57AM (#56237637) Journal

      Goodbye Moto!

      Do you have any idea how many times we have heard "This is the end of Motorola!" over the past decades?

      • Goodbye Moto!

        Do you have any idea how many times we have heard "This is the end of Motorola!" over the past decades?

        And in each case it has turned to be true (I used to work at Moto, so many of my ex-coworkers, all of us nomads that have moved to other pastures many moons ago).

        Each time, the once great company morphed itself into an emptier and emptier shelf of its former shelf, daftly re-living the "Groundhog Day" version of Zenos's Paradox.

        • I left Motorola in 2006 (along with around 200 others) as a business unit was dismantled.

          In its last years as a shrinking husk of an grand old-school company with a real research operation, I was able to get maybe 5 PhD signal processing / RF specialists from Motorola Research in the Chicago area, assigned for a few weeks to work on an interesting little project. I got a proof of concept, and they got a proof of capability for specific direct digital synthesis and up/down conversion techniques that were

  • Nice phones (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 10, 2018 @01:54AM (#56237633)

    Moto has best bang-for-the-buck phones right now. Their G series is really something.

    Its really too bad that non-Chinese companies do not release something similar: reasonable performance for reasonable price.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Moto has best bang-for-the-buck phones right now. Their G series is really something.

      Xiaomi would like to have a word with you.

  • When I got laid off they didn't even call me a "chunk". They didn't even call me "dead-weight" either.

    But I'm not bitter or anything. To be honest I was actually relieved.......until I realized I wasn't getting paid anymore. But then I thought about it. Was it worth it to sell my soul?

    And I said "No" and realized there was still money in the banana even in the sofa cushions.

    The work-life balance is definitely better now. Before it was all work and no life. Now it's

  • It's always the same – the best things go away, because either they can't be produced to bring their companies enough profit; sometimes they fail because –
    like the Moto Z Mod system – they get designed proprietary and thereby limiting the attractiveness and the wish for people or companies to design something for that system; or the company makes mistakes in marketing and promotion...

    Capitalism is not about the best things winning in competition, it's about being able to sell the cheapest

  • Nooo ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CptJeanLuc ( 1889586 ) on Saturday March 10, 2018 @05:53AM (#56238065)

    Oh man, I hope this doesn't mark the end of the current lineup of Motorola phones. I don't want to have to go on yet another goose chase after a decent and yet affordable phone. I currently own a Moto G, and it has the benefit of not being outrageously expensive, works "well enough" for everyday use while lasting minimum one day on a single charge, it is not iPhone as I do not want to be locked in with the Apple eco-system (not an Apple-hater, I am writing this on my Macbook Air), and very important to me - after a truly sh##y experience with resource-hogging and annoying proprietary setup of my first Samsung smartphone, I want _the vanilla Android experience_!!! As few "customizations" as possible, and with some reasonably new version of Android. And so far, the latest iteration of the Moto G (I had the last one, which turned out to be underspecced and have some battery problems - not so with the latest one at least yet) has really been the only phone to deliver on all of these.

    And probably there also goes my dream of the anticipated Lenovo tablet, which I was hoping would do all these things in tablet format. After giving up on my NVidia Shield Tablet primarily due to extremely poor battery life, I have been looking for a vanilla Android tablet that is reasonably priced - and there were announcements I think spring 2017 that there would "soon" be a new tablet from Lenovo that I thought would deliver on all the above metrics, which still has not emerged. And now I am guessing the whole thing will get canned.

    Bah ... why must it be so difficult to find reasonably priced hardware that actually works without a lot of annoying customizations designed to lock you in with the ecosystem of some particular vendor.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I work for Lenovo in NC and know some people testing the next phones. There's no sign of the product stopping. I do not know the situation in Chicago, but the company at least continues to be wanting to move forward. Time will tell if their cuts were too deep to continue or not. The next models of phones are more or less done, so this coming product launch won't be enough to tell if they axed a critical mass of engineering talent this time. Cuts to hardware engineering wouldn't be felt by the market u

    • Totally agree. I own a Moto G Play and I plan to purchase another Moto G when the time to change this device comes. Great devices and no crapware.

    • by chargi ( 187853 )

      love my moto g play. rooted, unlocked. at least 10 roms backed up on a 200 gig sd card. only one has gapps on it to get and extract apps.
          just for the fun of it. nougat and oreo.

  • The major cellphone carriers around the world are too tied to deals with Apple and Samsung, which often hurts smaller cellphone companies like Lenovo's Motorola division and HTC.

    I think by international laws, you have to buy the cellphone "unlocked" and then have the carrier activate it. That will guarantee that the likes of Apple and Samsung won't charge ridiculous amounts for their high-end phones and will mean a you can choose your own phone.

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson