Google Cutting Motorola Staff, Concentrating on a Few Good Phones

When Google acquired Motorola Mobility in May for $12.5 billion, many assumed the search company was only interested in patents. Now, though, it's slashing 20 percent of Moto's staff—and planning to have it concentrate on fewer, better phones.

The New York Times reports that Google's influence saw an announcement at Motorola on Sunday which will see the company close a third of its 94 global offices, and shed at least 20 percent of its entire workforce. One-third of those 4,000 jobs will be lost in the United States.

The Times also reports that Motorola "plans to leave unprofitable markets, stop making low-end devices and focus on a few cellphones instead of dozen". Speaking to the paper, Dennis Woodside, new Motorola CEO and Google sales-leader, explained:

"We're excited about the smartphone business. The Google business is built on a wired model, and as the world moves to a pretty much completely wireless model over time, it's really going to be important for Google to understand everything about the mobile consumer."

Elsewhere, the article explains how Moto plans to make better phones. Leaning on new metal scientists, acoustics engineers and artificial intelligence experts, the company plans to make its products "cool again". To Motorola, that means things like "sensors that recognize who is in a room based on their voices, cameras that take crisper photos and batteries that last for days."

Which sounds good! Let's just hope such ambition, twinned with a reduced staff, is a real possibility—and not just posturing from a company pretending to reinvent itself. [NYT]