Motorola to lay off 3,000 as part of $800M in cuts for '09

3,000 layoffs will be made globally across all businesses and functions with a "little over two-thirds of these layoffs in the handset division," Motorola said.

Motorola officials have confirmed that US$800 million in cuts planned for 2009 will require laying off about 3,000 workers, with a little more than two-thirds of those job cuts coming from the handset division.

About 3,000 layoffs will be made globally "across all businesses and functions" with a "little over two-thirds of these layoffs in the handset division," a spokeswoman said in an e-mail. The communications equipment maker had 66,000 employees at the end of 2007, she said.

Motorola co-CEOs Greg Brown and Sanjay Jha discussed the $800 million in cuts for 2009 Thursday during a third-quarter earnings call with analysts but never mentioned layoffs during the 65-minute session.

But Motorola's problems began many months ago and stemmed from an unprofitable handset division, now overseen by Jha.

Jha spoke indirectly about layoffs Thursday when he mentioned the value of the current group of handset engineers and designers at Motorola. They have done a "wonderful job in a limited sphere" Jha said, but noted that Motorola needed, instead, to have its designers build phones with improved users interfaces and services to compete with the iPhone and other new devices.

Jha, who was hired in August with the task of spinning off the handset division, also announced that the first Android phone from Motorola should be ready for the 2009 Christmas buying season.

Ellen Daley, an analyst at Forrester Research, said the layoffs are necessary, even though they will obviously be hard on the individual workers. The layoffs also serve as an example of how highly qualified engineers are not immune to job disruptions.

"They have to do something at Motorola," she said. "They are losing market share, they are bleeding and they are inefficient. Job cuts happen when you are not making enough money to support the jobs."

The cuts are most directly designed to show shareholders that Motorola is taking steps toward profitability. If condition improve enough, "they are going to be able to hire people," Daley added.

Daley, who has visited engineers and labs run by Motorola for several years, said the engineering culture at Motorola has tended to be in favor of fostering "creativity and ingenuity," which isn't practical in difficult financial times like these, especially with a slew of new smart phones coming on the market from competitors.

"If you have creativity and ingenuity as such a core component, it can be a downfall," said Daley, who added that she was trained as an electrical engineer. "Motorola engineers were often off in their little silos saying things like, 'I found the coolest thing,' but what's the applicability of that? They really need to march like a band together" toward a common purpose or set of products.

A spokesperson said in a response to ARN that management in Australia have informed employees they may be affected as a consequence of the worldwide cost reduction plan.

"Motorola’s new strategy has no consequences for our focus on the Australian market," the spokesperson added.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Motorola

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?