How Moto lost its mojo

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Rumours are Motorola’s involvement at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona will be minimal, just as it was last year.

Motorola has seen its global market share plummet from 14 to seven per cent in 18 months, and it has little in the way of new products to show off at the industry’s blue-riband event in three weeks.

The global economic crisis, of course, has played its part, and Motorola has taken an early hit because of its US origins. But, ultimately, it is the author of its own misfortune.

In November 2007, still riding the wave generated by its first RAZR V3 phone in 2004, Motorola was the number-two handset manufacturer on the planet, behind Nokia.

It is now number four, battling with LG Mobile, and its most recently filed annual results show operating losses of $1.2 (£0.8) billion in 2007 and sales losses of 33 per cent compared with 2006. Its last quarterly figures showed shipments of 19 million units, down 46 per cent year-on-year.

Motorola’s proportion of total sales on handset trading/auction site GSM Exchange has dropped from 19 to 10 per cent between January and November 2008, as the trade moves to rival firms.

To an extent, Motorola’s nationalist focus has seen it retain relatively strong, if fading, market share in its home market – it has only just slipped to number two in the US behind Samsung. But overseas, its situation has got ugly. Foreign markets have been neglected.

Full article in Mobile News issue 431 (January 26, 2009).

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