With the layoff of 4,000 people worldwide announced Monday, Motorola Mobility might have raised more questions about its future than it answered.
In addition to cutting 20 percent of Motorola's work force, Google fired 40 percent of Motorola's vice presidents and installed a management team led by Google advertising executive Dennis Woodside as CEO.
Motorola Mobility recently signed a 15-year lease and announced plans to move its entire Libertyville, Ill., work force to downtown Chicago — an announcement much heralded by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as another example that the Windy City is becoming a tech hub. Google seemed to be demonstrating that the acquisition was about more than the patents to defend Android. But maybe not, Computerworld says.
Yet it seems clear that Google does want to get into the hardware business, but wants to focus on a “smarter” strategy of producing just a few key smartphones, though a good number of its employees are working on lower-end feature phones. Analysts say its biggest challenge will be allaying the fears of its hardware partners.
Meanwhile, it’s pinning its future on a new Advanced Technology and Projects unit led by Regina Dugan, a former director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Pentagon's research arm, according to Technology Review. It says the company wants to build phones with longer battery life, improved cameras and features such as voice recognition technology that can recognize people chatting in a room. It reports Dugan is hiring metal scientists, acoustics engineers and artificial intelligence experts.
But with its Illinois work force falling below 2,500, Motorola loses eligibility for $100 million in state tax credits that were contingent on that level of employment.