Well… not really. Sorry to have scared you. The news today is actually that Motorola’s name is being phased out by Lenovo. We will no longer know the company by the name Motorola. Instead, they’re simply part of Lenovo, and their phones will be named “Moto by Lenovo.”
Let it sink in. Done? OK, now you can weep for the death of an iconic and important brand. Motorola was the first company to explore the possibility of being able to make calls on a phone that didn’t have to be tethered to a wall. They were responsible for a lot of the tech that makes cellular communication possible, and owned many of the most important patents related to that stuff before Google bought and consumed them.
And then they were bought by Lenovo. The early going seemed fine. Motorola was confident that it’d be business as usual, with operations being controlled by the existing executive group that was with Motorola since their original split. But somewhere down the line Lenovo decided they wanted to be more involved, and they wanted to take the reigns on R&D and software development. They went as far as laying off 20% of Motorola’s workforce and shutting down 3 of their Chicago buildings.
Somehow, they’d lost faith in Motorola. Perhaps sales simply weren’t great, and Motorola’s business plan to improve that wasn’t good enough for Lenovo. Perhaps Lenovo simply wants change for the sake of change. We can’t say.
But the spirit of Motorola should still live on. “Moto by Lenovo” will become the top-line brand for the Chinese company, and it’ll still be headed up by Rick Osterloh, who has been with Motorola throughout the entirety of this rollercoaster ride. Meanwhile, their lesser-known Vibe line will be reserved for the budget devices they’ll continue to pump out.
Thus ends an era of an influential brand that played an extremely important role in all stages of the growth of the wireless industry, and all because Lenovo is looking to build their own brand. Only time will tell whether it will have been worth it when we look back on this move down the line.