Motorola CEO fires back at Jony Ive’s negative comments about Moto Maker, calls Apple’s prices ‘outrageous’


Rick Osterloh Motorola CEO

Android users have long enjoyed the benefits of an open mobile OS, one of those perks simply being choice. The ability to choose from a wide range of hardware and software UIs, just about everyone can agree that choice is good. Choice fosters healthy competition and it’s because of this choice that we’ve seen such rapid advancement of mobile technology in recent years. It’s the American way.

When Motorola introduced Moto Maker back in 2013, just about everyone agreed it was a breath of fresh air, giving buyers the ability to customize a new smartphone with different colors and even materials like leather or wood backs. But you know who felt this was a poor decision? Apple’s “visionary” designer Jony Ive.

In a recent interview with The New Yorker, Ive was quoted as saying the choice offered in Moto Maker was more of a lazy move by Motorola who somehow didn’t fulfill their responsibility as a designer. The world must look mighty different looking down from his high horse. Here’s the quote:

“Their value proposition was ‘Make it whatever you want. You can choose whatever color you want.’ And I believe that’s abdicating your responsibility as a designer.”

Apparently, Ive feels a smartphone’s design is something sacred and shouldn’t be allowed to be tampered with in any capacity. Never mind the fact that Motorola built a gorgeous phone with premium build quality and that color customization was simply allowing consumers to put the final touches on their phone in the name of personalization. That’s like criticizing Honda for allowing you to choose your own color, rims, and trim. It’s downright silly.

Today, the BBC published an interview with Motorola CEO Rick Osterloh who fired back at Ive, criticizing Apple’s “outrageous” pricing model. He further explained Motorola’s stance on Moto Maker and why they believe giving consumers some flexibility in the design was the way to go:

“Our belief is that the end user should be directly involved in the process of designing products… We believe the future is in offering similar experiences and great consumer choice at accessible prices… A great smartphone, and a great mobile internet experience, shouldn’t be an expensive luxury. It should be a simple choice for everyone.”


Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Despite the iPhone 6 being literally the exact same price as a Nexus 6 except without tons of bugs and terrible build quality issues.

    Maybe Moto’s prices are outrageous. My OnePlus one that arrived yesterday is truly a remarkable device and was roughly half the price of a Nexus 6, and my iPhone 6 (while expensive) is rock solid and the back doesn’t fall off and it doesn’t have buggy software.

    I’ve always been a fan of both iOS and Android and have carried both for years. So this is my reasonably objective opinion. Both have their strengths and weaknesses.

    1. I guess you forgot to mention BendGate

    2. You missed the fact that it’s not in any way in competition with the iPhone 6, it’s in competition with the iPhone 6 Plus (relative to screen size). For 16GB less storage, the 6 Plus is still $100 more! Put them on a level playing field of 64GB’s each, and the 6 Plus comes in at a whopping $150 extra.

      Granted, the Nexus 6 seems to have been rushed out the door a little bit in the software department, but the iPhone 6 has TONS of bugs. Just check any forum. Also, don’t make me laugh so hard when you mention the iPhone 6 not having terrible build quality issues. Were you asleep during Bendgate?!?! Seriously, I’m still trying to re-learn how to breathe over here.

      1. Four people at work bought the 6+. Four people at work now have bent iPhones. All of them bent. One guy is on his fourth one. It’s one of the worst phone designs in history.

        1. And backs are popping off N6s. Stuff happens.

          1. Weak glue =/= bent phone.

        2. Sounds a little over board to me. Possibly lying a little..

        3. funny, everyone on my actual (real) IT team has one. No one’s bent one yet. One of us, has a history of saying everything that comes from apple is bad (you) one of us is a giant fanboy (you) One of us, needs to re-think his priorities. (guess!)


      2. sigh, one thing that i always hear on this site is that apparently a device is only worth the sum of its spec sheet… which couldn’t be further from the truth.

        1. The only specs I mentioned were screen size and storage. Why compare a 4.7″ screen to a 6″. It’s a totally different class of device. Might as well throw in the Galaxy Tab S, right? *Sarcasm* And storage is storage…it determines the number of songs and video and other stuff you can have saved. Processor, Ram, OS optimizations, camera resolutions, screen resolutions, screen tech, yada, yada(the more subjective stuff) were left off of the table…

          1. Yes but you said less storage for more money… And i say storage or any spec for that matter isnt the only way to guage a product that relies heavily on software and label it overpriced.

          2. And I’m saying that storage is a hard number that optimization and preference can’t get around. The difference between us is that I’m right…

          3. lol ok you can be right. I’m just saying if i bought a blackberry with a 128 SD card for half the price of a nexus 6, is the nexus 6 all of a sudden overpriced because it now has less storage? Probably not right? I think that’s the point the OP was trying to make.

          4. Actually, I consider the inclusion of expandable storage to be a HUGE plus for any phone, as long as it had enough space for the ROM and the apps you want to install in the first place. For instance, the Moto E is an excellent budget phone, but one I’ll never actually recommend to anyone because it only has 4GB’s of internal storage. On the flip side, I have a LG G3 w/ 32GB’s internal and a 128GB SD (which has about 1000 tracks and 40 movies). All that for only $50 extra for the card, and I have a lot of space to burn.

            My wife has a blackberry (she eschews all-touch devices), so that SD card slot is also very important. She has storage for the pictures that she takes with her surprisingly competent camera, as well as her 6 Slacker stations…

          5. lol yes expandable storage is a plus… but you are avoiding the specific question i asked you. Is the Moto Nexus 6 automatically overpriced simply because there is a cheaper phone in existence with more storage?

          6. To directly answer your question, and in regards solely to storage, yes. Most OEM’s WAY overcharge for extra storage…equivalent SD cards are generally 1/2 to 1/4 the cost.

            But that’s not your point, because you want to take the phone as a whole (while somehow not taking into account the other specs). However, that’s NOT what the OP said…he said “Despite the iPhone 6 being literally the exact same price as a Nexus 6 except without tons of bugs and terrible build quality issues.” My point was that this isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison. You have to compare one class of phone to another in its class (IN THE SAME GENERATION), ergo, the Nexus 6 competes with the iPhone 6 Plus, while the iPhone 6 competes with the Moto X(2014). Also, the article was about Moto Maker vs Apple’s Ives, so I’m not sure why the Nexus 6 was ever brought up! Overall, the OP’s intent was to find SOME way to defend the Apple point of view, but all of his points were for naught (pricing, build quality, and OS stability).

          7. I understand your point and i’m willing to meet you in the middle, however i just want to say that he did reference the One plus when calling Moto expensive, NOT the iphone. He said there are plenty of things that go into the equation when debating price and someone could call the Nexus 6 overpriced because the One plus is cheaper and also a good phone.

    3. I upgraded from the oneplus one to the nexus 6 a couple months ago. They’re both great devices and some times I use a Sim adaptor to use my oneplus one as my daily driver for q couple of days. They’re both great phones. Hope you enjoy your oneplus one I love mine.

  2. My wife loved using the Moto maker. She has the bumper case to show off her design. I guess all iPhone cases should come in one color. The beauty of Android is customization. Be together, not the same. Lol

    1. The fact that people want to buy patterned cases for iPhones at all means Jony failed, by his logic.

  3. Translation: Consumer choice is bad.


  4. What a surprise! Johny Ive is against giving users any choice.

    1. I just love how giving consumers choices means you’ve failed as a designer. He’d prefer to retain on iron grip on iOS devices like a dictator.

  5. >it’s the American way
    Did I seriously read this? Business and technological advancements exist outside America believe it or not.

  6. No one from Apple should talk negatively about the Moto Maker’s customizations when Apple’s idea of customizations is slapping stickers on your extra bland Macbook.

  7. Apple’s prices are outrageous, but sadly consumers don’t care. Moto Maker is one of the most awesome, fun, creative things to come to the experience of buying a smartphone.

    1. My note 4 was $850. Is it worth it to me? Yes. That’s all that matters.

      1. Unlike the iphone, the note 4 at least offers a unique experience. And better hardware.

        1. It’s all relative. I still think ios provides a better overall experience to the average consumer and that is worth the premium to a lot of people.

          1. True. But i prefer a more open ecosystem though. Though I get the appeal of ios for people who want a system that just works well together without to much tinkering on their part.

        2. You know, if you own multiple Apple products you can take advantage of features like Continuity that simply aren’t offered in a fashion as easy to use as Apple made it available. That would count as a unique experience if you ask me.

          1. If by unique you mean hasn’t already existed in android already.

          2. I’m just saying unique because you can’t get an experience like that even if you purchase a Chromebook today.

          3. I can and do actually. Though I use my windows 8 laptop more since they (cisco) don’t make packet tracer for chrome.

          4. And those features have btw.

    2. iPhone is $200. How is that expensive….

      Besides, I’ve had nothing but good things come from my Macs and iPhones. You pay a bit more because they last longer without problems. What’s so bad about that?

  8. Less ram, lower res display compared to newer android phones. Still more expensive, thats just two out of many things that the iphone 6, and 6 Plus dont have yet is more expensive or almost same price. Just because theres a half eaten apple on the back.

  9. 5c? Anybody?

    1. The 5C comes in 5 preset colors, while multiple aspects of the Motorola phones can be customized individually through Moto Maker (2 fronts, 26 backs, and 10 trim colors) leading to way more choice for the consumer.

      1. I’d take moto maker phone over a 5c, 6c, 7c..

      2. I know I’m saying he’s being hypocritical.

        1. That shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone.

  10. “The world must look mighty different looking down from his high horse”
    Yes. That sentence is perfect.

  11. Dear Mr. Ive,

    The iWatch Design looks like Sh!t.

    1. It’s the modern emperor’s new clothes. Everyone rails about how pretty it is, but it just looks like a crappy toy. I don’t get it.

    2. And, yet, Google and Samsung will rush to copy it when it releases just like they did for Android when the iPhone released.

      1. Go play in traffic.

        1. Bravo. Such clever wit.

          1. why are you here?

            lets talk about all of the things apple has copied and needed outside help for.

            Fingerprint Scanner
            Pull down notifications
            64 bit chips
            7” Tablets

            Now lets talk about what Apple has developed in house with no outside help.

            APPLE MAPS!!!

            Check and Mate.

          2. Don’t forget multitasking. They copied this shortly after the OG Droid launched…

            It must of hurt them bad w/ those Droid commercials making fun of phones that can’t stream music, while doing something else.

  12. Ive must think he is a god… pleeeeaaaaase.

  13. What a clown is Ive! Hey, JONY, have you considered that every iSheep puts a case on their precious, thereby hiding your oh so special and complete design cues? And how about that Apple Watch design. Besides the fact that the watch is square and has far less capability than Apple had hyped, the app interface looks like a tray of neon-colored cupcakes

    1. Jealousy is not an endearing trait, Mr. Cormac1.

  14. I love my Moto X (14). A truly awesome phone. However… the first one I ordered, I’d say I was overwhelmed by choice. I did a white phone with blue trim and a light leather back. It was hideous.

    Unfortunately (or fortunately?) It had a defect where the back was peeling off, and when I called Moto, they told me to ship it back and credited me with a new one on the MotoMaker, so I could start from scratch with the design. Phew! Great service and a chance at design redemption.

    I went with silver chrome on black with leather. Now it looks like a Mercedes instead of a Fisher Price toy. This is not a knock on Moto, just a story about how terrible my taste is.

    1. When I did my 2013 Moto X, they showed a picture of what the device would look like, with the options chosen, did they scrap that? If not, then how could you not see that it would look like that?

      1. You can still see what you have created before you buy. Sometimes what looks like a masterpiece on screen looks terrible in your hand.

      2. Yeah, what Ronk said. I believe I was thinking “Whoa, this thing looks sweet fa’real!”… and then after about 4 hours out of the box, I realized my terrible terrible mistake.

  15. What Ive said is stupid but the Motorola CEO’s comments about price is even more stupid.

    He would absolutely sell Motorola phones at iPhone prices if consumers were willing to buy them. Saying otherwise is complete rubbish. Consumers are more than happy to continue purchasing iPhones so clearly the prices aren’t ‘outrageous’ at all.

    Motorola and their CEO would froth at the mouth with the thought of a $74 billion quarter. He is a straight up liar if he thinks he wouldn’t do the same if he could. If he were in Apple’s position he’d be gloating saying ‘look at how well we’re doing with me as the CEO’.

    What a dumbass.

    1. He said it for us. It would have been stupid to say anything else, “Yeah, we want to raise our prices too. We’re just waiting till we get enough market share, then we’ll jack the prices up. So, buy our phones, then we’ll screw you.”

    2. But they are outrageous. The tech in the current gen iPhone compares to the 4 year old Galaxy nexus but they are selling it at the price of a gs5

  16. Wait.. Since when is consumers having a choice in what their phone looks like bad.

    1. Since Ive said it.

    2. Since VP’s at Apple tell you what is the best, what you need, and what you get. It’s always been that way. Android has X feature, Apple doesn’t and claims they don’t need it, that it is stupid… fast forward a year or 2 and they copy it.

      Apple = arrogant, egotistical, controlling, and in denial.

      1. Except they launched an entire line of iPods and iPhones that have a wide array of options… derp.

        But don’t let facts get in the way of your pathetic Apple bashing.

        1. Yeah, I wonder why? Maybe because they realized they need these options to keep filling their coffers, because android is cutting into their business.

          Didn’t Jobs make fun of bigger phones? derp…iPhone 6+

  17. This reminds me of that Henry Ford quote “you can have it in any color……… as long as it’s black” speaking about the model T. Look at how that worked out for Ford. They were getting their lunch eaten and eventually were forced into providing, you know, options to the consumer.

    And I read about half of that New Yorker article and then couldn’t take anymore of it.

    1. Uhh, the Model T was one of the most succesful automobiles in history

      1. Yes it was…….. for the first few years after it was released. After Ford refused to make any changes or options for years, other car makers were severely eating into their business. Try reading about it……..

  18. Outrageous prices? Says the company that dared launch the Motorola Xoom at a starting price more expensive than the iPad.

  19. My God that New Yorker article was unbelievable. They looked like

  20. Why are there three different colors for the iPhone, and multiple storage options then?

  21. Shots fired

  22. Yes Steve Job wear Black Turtle TShirt and wants that for every iSheeps to follow

  23. Ive had enough of this b.s!

  24. just started reading 1984 today. I wonder how many comparisons I can draw between Apple and Big Brother, which is especially funny given how their most famous commercial placed Apple as fighting Big Brother and it’s legion of dictatored sheep

  25. How does he explain the option for a black or white iPhone, or a normal or + size. He failed as a designer.

  26. How can a guy like Ive be so obnoxious about this when all I ever see are his designs covered by ugly black rubber, or hideous pink plastic peppered with fake rhinestones?

    1. I can’t upvote this enough.

      Make a durable phone without a glass back that cracks, or BENDgate, or is IP67 waterproof, and Jony Ive can earn the right to speak in my mind.

      He’s a hack.

  27. I love Moto Maker.

  28. Wasn’t Apple the company that made a big deal about being able to get an iMac in different colors?

  29. Go Moto! Yet another example of Apple’s arrogance & ignorance. Theoretically, wouldn’t it take more skill to design a piece of hardware that successfully offers the level of customization that Moto has presented us with? And to actually be an attractive piece of hardware at that.

    1. Lol.. “arrogance” and “ignorance”. The smell of fanboyism and jealousy is in the air….

      1. I’m actually the previous owner of the iPad mini, the iPhone 4, 4S, 5, & 5S, and the Mac Mini. I also still own and use my 27″ iMac which I love.

        Appreciate the comment!

      2. iPhone 6 is a giant Android copy.

        NFC payment, large screen, OIS, everything.

  30. Says the guy who’s crowning achievement was an OS that could’ve easily been designed by a kindergartner. Don’t think he has much room to talk there….

  31. Someone needs to photoshop the Apple employee parking lot and make all the cars white…then include a witty caption…

  32. What is funny is look at all the iPhone users you see. I see a variety of different cases on the phones. Not just solid black or white for protection, but ones full of color and design. Going all the way back to the Nokia bricks, everyone has always customized their phone looks. Motorola was smart and said, lets make that part of the buying process.

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