Motorola Employees Reactions to Lenovo’s Takeover

As you probably know by now, Motorola was recently sold off to Lenovo. This Chicagoland brand was born and bred here. Now it is likely that all the key R&D, scientific, engineering, IT and technical jobs will be lost to Asia in the near future.

How do present and former Motorola Employees feel about Google’s sale of Motorola to Lenovo?

On several social networking websites, many people have expressed mixed feelings on this subject, including a lot of current and past Motorola employees on the Motorola Past & Present (MMI and MSI) group on LinkedIn. Here is just one of the many comments:

First, it was Moto itself, and now Google that has failed to give Motorola the traction in the competitive Smart phone market. As we all know, Lenovo has bought Motorola less than two years after Google acquired it for a lot more money.”

Here are some others:

Sharon Phillips

Sharon Phillips

(Past Chair at IEEE Chicago Section)


“I had very good, long career at Moto. I was the perfect age. My job wouldn’t have been accessible to a woman before my time and now the workplace belongs to young people. Godspeed to ‘em.”

Randall Iliff

Randall Iliff

(Bjorksten | bit 7)

“I’ve worked with and for some great teams in my career, but consider the Moto engineering talent pool as one of the very best, It’s a shame that Moto, and then Google, failed to fully leverage that asset. The only silver lining I see is that some really great talent will now become available to companies like mine!”
Wayne Penney

Wayne Penney

(Product Safety, Compliance and Quality Manager)

“I was also impacted by one of the Google-driven RIFs (March 2013). I had joined Motorola in 1976 after being impressed they were the best of the companies I had visited (including Bell Labs, NJ). I was actually allowed to make a phone call on an early cellular phone prototype being developed in Research. What a blast for a college kid! I am very proud to have worked alongside some of the very best engineering talent in the USA.”“In fact, what Lenovo purchased is only a portion of the Motorola Mobility that was created when MOT divided “50/50″ in 2011. MMI was split into at least 5 (set top box, manufacturing operations, IC design, patents, cell phone) portions by Google and each went to a different company. Meanwhile, MSI has been divesting and downsizing as well. The tragic story is what a small portion of the original MOT is left of a “family-run” company that was once so dominant in many biz sectors, had yearly sales of $40B, and employed 180,000 people!

However, my blood still runs Motorola Blue after 37 years, and I wish MSI the very best. Long live Motorola!”

Bradford Skrbec

 Bradford Skrbec

(Information Security Architect)* Largest manufacturer of Android eco-system phones brought in line – Check

* Retain patents that keep the Android eco-system bulletproof in the legal arena – Check

* In overall return, spend nearly nothing – Check

* Talk about disruptive technologies being the way, but then keeping the one phone that was truly disruptive for themselves (just in case they want to get back into the business of phones or sell the idea) – CheckWe served a purpose.

The whole Project Ara thing is reminiscent of our partnership with Apple before the iPhone hit. They got what they wanted and then walked away.”

 Martin O'Hara

Martin O’Hara

(National Strategy Manager for Ultra Precision at EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing)

“This long slow demise of Motorola as a brand started many years ago, they split out their semiconductors divisions (Freescale and OnSemi), various other smaller parts, out-sourced handset manufacturing, sold the original car-electronics part to Continental (the “Motor” part of their name) and now one of the last bits of the “ola” section; mobility is gone. It’s just business at the end of the day.The last remaining section; Solutions, is the parts that sell into government agencies (police radios etc.) and had always been one of the most profitable. It’s not just US governments either, the UK police appear to use Motorola radios and Tetra products. Not including the ill-fated Iridium (that’s also separated).

It might be a bit sad for those of us who worked in various other divisions and always wore the Motorola name with pride on our CV’s, but these things happen in business. They are not the first to go down this path, neither will thy be the last.”

Jonathan West

Jonathan West

(Founder and Director at Getting America Back (National Organization) and American Communication Arts)

“THERE IS NO WAY THAT I CAN BE PLEASED about a significant amount of what is left of the Motorola company now sold to a mainland Chinese company. It now is a part of a regime that shows us cooperation on the one hand and hostile military ambitions on the other hand.There is not so much left of what was once a proud, and very successful American corporation. P.V., Bob Galvin, my father, and so many others must be spinning in their graves. But then, it is just another part of the sad decline of our nation in so many areas of historic endeavor.

Since most Americans just whine, wring their hands or go into denial about what is happening in our world these days, one wonders if the decline will ever be able to be reversed — truly reversed.

Well, there remains at least one thing that can be said, we are most certainly living in interesting times.”

 Please share your thoughts ….