top of page

Motorola’s Journey of Change and Transformation

Motorola, the American telecommunications giant that pioneered the mobile phone industry, faced a series of challenges in the 2000s and early 2010s that threatened its survival. The company suffered from declining sales, fierce competition, legal disputes, and a massive patent infringement lawsuit from Microsoft. In 2008, Motorola reported a net loss of $4.3 billion for the year, and was on the verge of bankruptcy.

Motorola’s Journey of Change and Transformation | The Business Anecdote

However, in 2011, Motorola underwent a radical transformation that turned its fortunes around. The company was split into two independent public companies: Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions. Motorola Mobility focused on developing smartphones using Google's open-source Android operating system, while Motorola Solutions continued to provide wireless network equipment and public safety communications systems to businesses and governments.

Motorola Solutions | The Business Anecdote

Motorola Solution

Motorola Solutions is a global leader in mission-critical communications, video security, and software solutions for public safety and enterprise customers. The company was formed in 2011, when Motorola, Inc., a pioneer in the telecommunications industry, split into two independent entities: Motorola Solutions and Motorola Mobility. The former took over the enterprise-oriented and government-focused businesses, while the latter focused on the consumer-oriented mobile phone market.

The split was motivated by the desire to create more value for shareholders, customers, and employees, as well as to address the different challenges and opportunities faced by the two segments. Motorola Solutions inherited a legacy of innovation and excellence from its parent company, which was founded in 1928 by brothers Paul and Joseph Galvin. Some of the notable achievements of Motorola, Inc. include developing the first car radio, the first handheld two-way radio, the first commercial cellular phone, and the first radio communication from the moon.

Since its inception, Motorola Solutions has continued to innovate and expand its portfolio of products and services, through both organic growth and strategic acquisitions. Some of the key acquisitions include Psion, a provider of rugged mobile computing devices, in 2012; Airwave Solutions, the operator of the UK's public safety radio network, in 2016; Avigilon, a provider of video analytics and surveillance solutions, in 2018; and Pelco, a provider of video security cameras and systems, in 2020.

Motorola Solutions' vision is to create safer cities and thriving businesses by providing cutting-edge technology that connects people, devices, and data. The company serves more than 100,000 customers in over 100 countries, across various sectors such as law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, utilities, transportation, manufacturing, and education. Some of the company's flagship products and services include the APX series of radios, the CommandCentral software suite, the WatchGuard video system, and the MOTOTRBO digital radio system.

Motorola Solutions is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and has approximately 20,000 employees worldwide. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol MSI, and is a component of the S&P 500 index. In 2022, the company reported revenues of $9.11 billion, operating income of $1.66 billion, and net income of $1.36 billion. The company's chairman and CEO is Greg Brown, who has been leading the company since 2008.

Motorola Mobility | The Business Anecdote

Motorola Mobility

Motorola Mobility is a consumer electronics company that produces smartphones and other mobile devices running Android. The company was created in 2011, when Motorola, Inc., one of the pioneers in the telecommunications industry, split into two separate entities: Motorola Solutions and Motorola Mobility. The latter inherited the company's consumer-oriented product lines, such as mobile phones, while the former took over the enterprise-oriented and government focused businesses.

As with Motorola Solutions, the split was driven by the desire to create more value for shareholders, customers, and employees, as well as to address the different challenges and opportunities faced by the two segments. Motorola Mobility faced intense competition in the smartphone market, especially from Apple and Samsung. The company struggled to regain its market share and profitability, despite launching several innovative products, such as the Droid series, the Moto X, and the Moto G.

In 2012, Google acquired Motorola Mobility for US$12.5 billion, mainly to gain access to its patent portfolio, which could help Google defend its Android platform from litigation. Under Google's ownership, Motorola Mobility increased its focus on the entry-level smartphone market, and also developed Project Ara, a platform for modular smartphones with interchangeable components. However, Google's ownership of the company was short-lived. In 2014, Google announced that it would sell Motorola Mobility to Lenovo, a Chinese multinational technology company, for $6.91 billion.

The sale excluded Project Ara and most of Motorola Mobility's patents, which remained with Google.

Lenovo's acquisition of Motorola Mobility was motivated by its ambition to expand into the United States smartphone market, where it had a negligible presence. Lenovo also hoped to leverage Motorola Mobility's brand recognition and innovation capabilities to enhance its own smartphone portfolio. Lenovo decided to keep Motorola Mobility as a separate subsidiary, and retained its headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. In 2015, Lenovo merged its own smartphone division with Motorola Mobility, and appointed Rick Osterloh, the former president of Motorola Mobility, as the head of the combined unit.

Since then, Motorola Mobility has continued to produce smartphones and other mobile devices under the Moto and Motorola brands, as well as the Razr brand, which was revived in 2019 as a foldable smartphone. Some of the company's recent products include the Moto Z series, which supports Moto Mods, accessories that attach to the back of the phone and add functionality, such as a projector, a speaker, or a camera; the Moto E series, which offers affordable smartphones with basic features; and the Motorola Edge series, which features premium smartphones with edge-to-edge displays and 5G connectivity.

Motorola Mobility has approximately 5,000 employees worldwide, and serves more than 100 countries. The company's president is Sergio Buniac, who succeeded Rick Osterloh in 2018. In 2020, the company reported revenues of $7.1 billion, operating income of $173 million, and net income of $76 million.


Motorola's journey is an example of how a company can overcome adversity by making bold decisions, adapting to changing environments, leveraging its core competencies, and collaborating with external partners. The Brand also demonstrated that innovation is not only about creating new products or services; it is also about finding new ways of delivering value to customers through technology.



(2) Motorola - Wikipedia.

(3) Google did win from buying Motorola, but not in the way you ... - ZDNET.

(4) History - Motorola Solutions USA - Motorola Solutions.

(5) Motorola Solutions - Wikipedia.

(6) Motorola Solutions History: Founding, Timeline, and Milestones - Zippia.

(7) Motorola Mobility - Wikipedia.


bottom of page