Motorola - Dismemberment or Evolution?
The latest round of speculation points to the possibility of Motorola combining their handset and set top box divisions to build a new integrated future. Of course, speculation also exists pointing to the potential spin-off of these units. Who are all these unnamed speculators anyway? Whether it is to sell them off or create competitive advantage, the merger of the two units raises some interesting prospects.
If Motorola can come up with a workable structure to blend its mobile device unit with its set top box unit, then that new combined group would hold tremendous promise to integrate consumers’ digital media in an exciting way. That combination would certainly attract the interests of companies like Huawei, Asus and others looking to gain more prominent market positioning in the mobile and CE industries. Of course, if Motorola could do that easily, it wouldn’t be looking to dismantle itself and sell off the valuable morsels to the highest bidder. So while I think the combination of the two units is a fine notion at a high level, the fact remains that Motorola has failed to integrate its two most important business groups in any significant way and will have to undergo major cultural and organizational changes to realize that vision. Back in early 2007, I met with then CMO of Motorola, Casey Keller, at a trade show to discuss media integration and device interaction between mobile handsets and set top boxes. Keller shared the view that Motorola held the strongest potential hand in the business to do that, but was facing an anemic mobile device pipeline (how many ways can you sell a RAZR, after all?) and new levels of challenge on the set top box side as well. So, vision took a back seat to triage and the more important task of stopping the bleeding, but execution proved to be elusive. From YE 2006 to YE 2009, Motorola’s annual device sales dropped by approximately 65%.Three years later, the Motorola device group is showing solid signs of rebirth with its recent line-up of smartphones architected around the Android platform. The new expanding portfolio leverages Motorola’s greatest recent advance: the highly customized Motoblur experience that presents users with all their social networking and primary apps in a single view. If this concept catches fire, it provides an interesting potential roadmap for Motorola to upgrade its set top box experience to include similar capabilities for social networking but, perhaps more importantly, media sharing among a consumer’s multiple devices. With its massive share of the North American set top box market, Motorola holds a unique hand of assets and partners. Cable companies have been desperate to extend their relevance beyond the TV and laptop and a set top box that easily interacts with mobile and CE devices, integrating digital media could be just the trick.But the window of opportunity for this integrated approach is limited, so, Motorola, god speed. As Jeff Goldblum famously said in Jurassic Park, “Life, uh, finds a way.” In the consumer media world “life” is the idea of acquiring, enjoying and moving media on any device you want, whenever and anywhere you want. Consumers are already experimenting with this in many forms. Whether it is the game station, laptop, media gateway, transcoders, mobile apps, etc, consumers have a huge selection of ways to get media from A to B, but few are terribly satisfying from either a user interface or device compatibility basis. This leaves Motorola with some wiggle room to merge the set top box business and mobile device unit to generate a new integrated vision of consumer media. The vision will need to be both technical and cultural to bridge the gaps between the two business units, which share nothing beyond a company brand. But with proper execution, such an approach could save set top boxes and the Motorola brand from being another set of fossils on the anywhere evolutionary path.
By Andy Castonguay, Director, Yankee Group
Источник: 4G Trends
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