Motorola Inc. is an American, multinational, Fortune 100, telecommunications company based in Schaumburg, Illinois. It is a manufacturer of wireless telephone handsets, also designing and selling wireless network infrastructure equipment such as cellular transmission base stations and signal amplifiers. Motorola's home and broadcast network products include set-top boxes, digital video recorders, and network equipment used to enable video broadcasting, computer telephony, and high-definition television. Its business and government customers consist mainly of wireless voice and broadband systems used to build private networks and public safety communications systems.
Motorola started as Galvin Manufacturing Corporation
in 1928. The name Motorola was adopted in 1930, and the word has been used as a trademark
since the 1930s. Founders Paul Galvin
and Joseph Galvin came up with the name Motorola
when the company started manufacturing car radios
Many of Motorola's products have been radio-related, starting with a battery eliminator for radios, through the first walkie-talkie in the world, defense electronics, cellular infrastructure equipment, and mobile phone manufacturing. In September 1983, the firm made history when the FCC approved the DynaTAC 8000X telephone, the world's first-only commercial cellular device. The company was also strong in semiconductor technology, including integrated circuits used in computers. Motorola has been the main supplier for the microprocessors used in Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, Color Computer, and Apple Macintosh personal computers. The PowerPC family was developed with IBM and in a partnership with Apple (known as the AIM alliance). Motorola also has a diverse line of communication products, including satellite systems, digital cable boxes and modems.
On September 15, 1999, Motorola announced it would buy General Instrument in an $11 billion stock swap. General Instrument had long been the No. 1 cable TV equipment provider, supplying cable operators with end-to-end hybrid fiber coax cable solutions. This meant that GI offers all cable TV transmission network components from the head-end to the fiber optic transmission nodes to the cable set-top boxes, now at the availability of Motorola.
Motorola creates numerous products for use of the government, public safety officials, business installments, and the general public. These products include Motorola mobile phones
, laptops, computer processors, and radio communication devices. The Motorola RAZR line
has sold over 110 million units bringing the company to the number two mobile phone slot in 2005.
- Enterprise Mobility Solutions: Headquarters, located in Schaumburg, IL, comprises communications offered to government and public safety sectors and enterprise mobility business. Motorola develops analog and digital two-way radio, voice and data communications products and systems, mobile computing, advanced data capture, wireless infrastructure and RFID solutions to customers worldwide.
- Home & Networks Mobility: Headquarters, located in Horsham, PA, produces end-to-end systems that facilitate uninterrupted access to digital entertainment, information and communications services via wired and wireless mediums. Motorola develops digital video system solutions, interactive set-top devices, voice and data modems for digital subscriber line and cable networks, broadband access systems for cable and satellite television operators, and also wireline carriers and wireless service providers.
- Mobile Devices: Headquarters, located in Libertyville, IL, currently the least prosperous arm of the firm, designs wireless handsets, but also licenses much of its intellectual properties. This includes cellular and wireless systems and as well as integrated applications, and Bluetooth accessories.
See also: List of Motorola products (including Freescale's semiconductors)
Motorola's handset division recorded a loss of $1.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007, while the company as a whole earned $100 million during that quarter. It lost several key executives to rivals and the web site TrustedReviews
has called the company's products repetitive and uninnovative. Motorola laid off 3,500 workers in January 2008, followed by a further 4,000 job cuts in June and another 20% cut of its research division a few days later. In July 2008, a large number of executives left Motorola to work on Apple Inc.
. Facing bankruptcy, the company has been put on offer for sale to several other major rivals such as Samsung Electronics
, LG Electronics
and Sony Ericsson
, yet all have rejected the offer. In July 2008, analyst Mark McKechnie from American Technology Research said that Motorola "would be lucky to fetch $500 million" for selling its handset business and analyst Richard Windsor said that Motorola might have to pay someone to take the division off the company and that the company may even exit the handset market altogether. Its global market share has been on the decline; from 18.4% of the market in 2007, it had a share of just 9.7% by 2008.
Television and radio manufacturing
In 1974, Motorola
divested itself of its television and radio-manufacturing division, which included the popular Quasar
brand of electronics. This division was acquired by Matsushita
, already well-known under its Panasonic
brand in North America
, where it was looking to expand.
Motorola developed the first truly global communication network using a set of 66 satellites. The business ambitions behind this project and the need for raising venture capital to fund the project led to the creation of the Iridium company
' in the late 1990s. While the technology was proven to work, Iridium failed to attract sufficient customers and they filed for bankruptcy in 1999. Obligations to Motorola and loss of expected revenue caused Motorola to spin off the ON Semiconductor (ONNN)
business August 4
, raising for Motorola of about $1.1 Billion.
Motorola manufactured two satellite phone handsets for this network - the 9500 and 9505 as well as transceiver units. Some of these are still in production by an OEM but sold under the Iridium brand.
Government and defense
Further declines in business during 2000 and 2001, caused Motorola to spin off its government and defense business to General Dynamics
. The business deal closed September 2001. Thus GD Decision Systems was formed (and later merged with General Dynamics C4 Systems) from Motorola's Integrated Information Systems Group.
On October 16
, Motorola announced that it would spin off its semiconductor product Sector
into a separate company called Freescale Semiconductor, Inc.
. The new company began trading on the New York Stock Exchange
on July 16th of the following year.
In July, 2006 Motorola completed the sale of its automotive business to Continental AG
. Motorola’s automotive unit had annual sales of $1.6 billion (€1.33 billion) and employed 4,500. The divisions products included telematics
systems used for vehicle navigation and safety services, engine and transmission control electronics, vehicle control, electronics and sensors used in steering, braking, and power doors and power windows
On March 26
, Motorola's board of directors approved a split into two different publicly traded companies. This came after talk of selling the handset division to another corporation. These new companies are Motorola Mobile Devices
and Motorola Broadband & Mobility Solutions
. It is expected that this action will be approved by regulatory bodies and will be complete by 2009.
The Six Sigma quality system
was developed at Motorola even though it became best known through its use by General Electric
. It was created by engineer Bill Smith
, under the direction of Bob Galvin
(son of founder Paul Galvin) when he was running the company. Motorola University
is one of many places that provide Six Sigma training.
Motorola, Inc., along with the Arizona Water Co. has been identified as the sources of TCE contamination that took place in Scottsdale, Arizona. The malfunction led to a ban on the use of water that lasted three days and affected almost 5000 people in the area. Motorola was found to be the main source of the TCE, an industrial solvent that is thought to cause cancer. The TCE contamination was caused by a faulty blower on an air stripping tower that was used to take TCE from the water, and Motorola has attributed the situation to operator error.
Ratings from interest groups
Motorola received a 100% rating on the Corporate Equality Index
released by the Human Rights Campaign
in 2004, 2005, and 2006, starting in the third year of the report.