Article first published as Google and Motorola Mobility â€“ Long Shadows and New Horizons on Technorati.
Motorola Mobility employees and customers have been in a state of limbo for the last 10 months, not knowing what their destiny held. Consequently, morale inside the company has been declining and business with customers was made difficult. On May 22nd the acquisition deal finally closed and Google acted swiftly: a new CEO was installed, some key executives were imported and a significant number of the existing executive team exited the company.
Pointers to the new direction
The choice of new executives, as well as those who remain, probably betrays the essence of the company’s future direction. The new CEO, Dennis Woodside, and Senior VP Marketing, Gary Briggs, are long time Google insiders with a focus on growth and the consumer. This bodes well for the longevity of their acquisition. The addition of Mark Randall, ex Amazon/Nokia supply chain specialist, says that they are serious about staking a position in the device market. New HR and Finance leaders will bring a fresh assessment of the assets and talent within the organization, and hopefully create ways to enhance and leverage them. Head of HR, Scott Sullivan, comes from a background in VISA and Nividia which indicates that the integrated mobile wallet could be placed high on the priority list. The addition of Regina Dugan, former director of DARPA, is the best possible sign that innovative R&D will play a significant role in the future direction of the standalone business.
Those people retained are also indicative of the direction in which the new company is heading. Scott Offer, Senior VP General Counsel, has years of experience with patents, both defending portfolios and helping shape future directions. A core group of product development and software leaders, with focus on the enterprise and mass markets, highlights the market direction. The portfolio range will likely be narrower but with a strong emphasis on consumer experience. The retention of Senior VP Global Go-to-Market, Mark Shockley, proves that relationships with mobile operators remain important. The presence of Dan Moloney, responsible for Home business and a seasoned executive in dealing with cable companies, could mean that the new business has the intent to either integrate with Google IPTV, or that the business unit is destined to be spun out and needs an experienced leader to achieve this transition.
A bigger challenge beyond direction
The major challenge for Dennis Woodside will be addressing the air of malaise and despondency that has settled over the team in the last 10 months. Setting a clear focused direction will help but, more significantly, it will require the creation of a vibrant culture and cohesive community; an environment that blends the best of Motorola’s innovative hard charging device focus with the fast moving open creativity and software mentality of Google. If this can be achieved, the standalone business could become a powerhouse of innovation over the next 5 years.
Steve Bell, President, KeySo Global www.keysoglobal.com