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Google to lay off a fifth of Motorola workers

Updated Motorola confirms the bad news
Mon Aug 13 2012, 09:52
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INTERNET GIANT Google plans to lay off a fifth of Motorola workers and close 94 of the US phone maker's offices worldwide, the New York Times reports.

The job losses and office closures are likely to hit US workers hardest, with Google plotting to cut a third of the 4,000 workers from Motorola's American work force. The staffing cuts will also hit Motorola management, with Google set to shed 40 per cent of the firm's former vice presidents.

Dennis Woodside, Motorola's new chief executive told the New York Times that the phone maker will "leave unprofitable markets, stop making low-end devices and focus on a few cellphones instead of dozens," perhaps taking a tip from HTC's 'hero device' strategy.

He added that Motorola will focus on making its products cool again, by configuring devices with thinks like "sensors that recognise who is in a room based on their voice" and better camera sensors.

"We're excited about the smartphone business," Woodside added. "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."

Motorola has had a tough time in recent years, struggling to compete against Apple and Samsung, which combined make up 85 per cent of the smartphone market and 90 per cent of overall profits.

"It got left in the dust by the competition and kind of missed the smartphone transition," said Charles Golvin, a mobile analyst at Forrester Research.

Motorola has confirmed the job cuts in a statement issued to The INQUIRER. A spokesperson said, "Today, Motorola Mobility announced that its reducing its headcount by approximately 4,000.

"Two-thirds of the reduction is set to occur outside of the U.S. In addition, Motorola plans to close or consolidate about one-third of its 90 facilities as well as simplify its mobile product portfolio - shifting the emphasis from feature phones to more innovative and profitable devices.

"While Motorola expects this strategy to create new opportunities and help return its mobile devices unit to profitability, it understands how hard these changes will be for the employees concerned. Motorola is committed to helping them through this difficult transition and will be providing generous severance packages, as well as outplacement services to help people find new jobs." µ


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