updated 05:20 pm EST, Thu February 11, 2010
Moto mobile, enterprise groups to be separate
Motorola today provided more a definitive timetable for its plan to split the company. Acting to correct rumors, the Droid creator said it will divide itself into two firms within the first quarter of 2011. The first will include the crucial Mobile Devices group as well as the Home section, which covers media hubs and similar end-to-end devices; the second company would incorporate Motorola's enterprise and networking fields.
As part of the break, Motorola's co-CEO Sanjay Jha is becoming the CEO of both the Mobile Devices and Home groups as of today. His fellow CEO Greg Brown will lead the more business-oriented group. Both will use the Motorola brand, though notably only Jha's group will own the name; the agreement will see his company license the brand to Brown.
In making the split, the company said it had decided following a review and emphasized the ongoing return to health of the mobile group. Motorola had particularly strong successes with the Cliq and Droid late last year and has already launched five phones this year, including the Backflip, Devour, and three southeast Asia-oriented phones that include the MOTOROI. There will be "at least" 20 smartphones launched in 2010, Motorola said.
The company had originally proposed the split two years ago as a reaction to its then rapidly sinking mobile market share, which had increasingly been dragging down parts of the business that were mostly successful on their own. At the time, however, it had few smartphones and depended largely on Windows Mobile at a time when most were openly rejecting the platform in favor of BlackBerry, iPhone and Symbian. Most of its recent gains in market share are credited to switching to the more recent and more advanced Android, and the company has gone so far as to vow no Windows Mobile devices for virtually all of 2010.