Motorola has always been a perplexing brand. Like Lucent and AT&T before it, Motorola has operated for decades in the telecommunications hardware business. Makers of big network phone switches, tiny alphanumeric pagers and cell phones, Moto became most famous for its “gotta have” Razr phone.
Moto with frequent highs and lows in all of its hardware businesses has for some reason not been able to consistently fire on all cylinders. Just when they’ve had a strong run, they go soft. And the Street blames management. Carl Icahn has an answer, and it’s a good one. Split off the mobile devices company (read cell phones) and create two separate businesses.
Though Nokia and Apple will be strong competitors of the handset business, and I’m sure there’s a Chinese company on the horizon, Moto has the people, pride and market power to go back on top. With renewed focus and leadership we may all be speaking into Moto phones in a year or two. (And please don’t listen to any branding companies and change the name of the business. Fight the urge.)