Motorola has had a rocky history since its acquisition by Google a few years ago. The company was bleeding cash when Google took over, but the search engine giant was more concerned about Motorola patents than it was Motorola’s financial fortune. Once Google decided it was done with Motorola, it shipped the company off to Lenovo. Now that Lenovo has control, though, changes are bound to occur (which is the normal state of things). One such change, unfortunately, is that over 50% of the Motorola US workforce is now unemployed.
The news comes to us by way of Droid Life:
According to two sources close to the matter, Lenovo just laid off hundreds of employees at Motorola, potentially more than 50% of the remaining workforce at the mobile device maker. One source actually pegged the number at 700+ out of 1200 remaining who will be told that they no longer have a job within the next day. At least one now-former employee took to Facebook to confirm the news (we’ve decided not to include a link to preserve his privacy), saying that he has been with the company for over 20 years and his last day will be this Friday.
Motorola US wrote Droid Life back and corrected this 700+ number, putting it more at 1,100, which is around 2% of the 55,000 global employees that work for Lenovo. Another rumor said that Lenovo would possibly relocate its Chicago headquarters to North Carolina (Lenovo US headquarters), though the company denied this rumor. Here’s Lenovo’s own press release on the matter:
Lenovo today announced a resource action impacting less than two percent of its approximately 55,000 employees globally. The majority of the positions being eliminated are part of the ongoing strategic integration between Lenovo and its Motorola smartphone business as the company further aligns its organization and streamlines its product portfolio to best compete in the global smartphone market.
Motorola has had nearly 95% of its workforce, including Motorola US, unemployed since the Google acquisition back in 2011. In other words, only 5% of the old Motorola giant workforce remains.
Motorola is doing its best to compete in the smartphone business, but it has been squashed in the market by the likes of Korean giant Samsung and fellow Korean rival, LG, as well as the world’s third-largest OEM, Huawei, who’s taken Microsoft’s old position and is posing some threat to both Samsung and Apple. Lenovo and Motorola will have to go up against Huawei in China and Samsung and Apple in the US, so it doesn’t seem as though the Motorola US workforce will grow any time soon. The smartphone market is truly cutthroat, and for companies like Motorola, who have fallen from grace, one smartphone can be the difference between a meal, rent/mortgage, or neither.
It’s an unfortunate turn of events, and our hearts go out to Motorola US employees who are now being handed their unemployment slips. I myself have been unemployed quite a few times over the last few years due to financial decline, so I’ve been where some of these former employees are. We do wish them well and hope that they all land on their feet as quickly as possible.