The Motorola brand will soon be no more. Smartphone manufacturer Lenovo is giving the U.S. mobile phone trailblazer’s name the ol’ heave-ho due to an acquisition over two years old.
Motorola invented the cell phone, with famous creations including the flip phone, the Razr, and the iconic Brick. David Beckham is one of many well-known faces who enjoyed the Razr.
Lenovo is a smartphone and laptop manufacturer based in China that purchased Motorola from Google in January of 2014. It launched the Moto G at the start of 2014 with success, and took Motorola from a near-0 percent market share to a 6 percent share of sales in the UK. Motorola moved over 10 million smartphones in 2014’s third quarter, thanks to the popularity of the Moto G.
The Future of Moto
Despite this success, Lenovo has decided to get rid of the Motorola name, though it will keep ‘Moto.’ All subsequent Motorola phones will fall under the Lenovo brand name. Moto will join Lenovo’s Vibe line, however what will become of the Moto E and G is still unknown. The manufacturer’s Motorola Mobility division will subsequently oversee their entire range of smartphones.
A spokesperson for Lenovo commented that Motorola Mobility continues to exist as part of the company and serves as the engineering and design foundation for all of their mobile products.
Reception to this news has been mixed. Many believe the end of Motorola is the end of an era regarding smartphone innovation, but that doesn’t mean the brand wasn’t flailing considerably over the past several years. Kantar WorldPanel analyst Carolina Milanesi noted that, while Lenovo is a decent brand, Motorola is an icon of the mobile phone world, and getting away from that might not be the best idea.
Ironically, Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing remarked that Motorola was the manufacturer’s “treasure” following the acquisition, and that they planned to protect the Motorola brand and make it stronger than ever.
Regardless, the Moto option is popular among Android fans, and the decision to kill the Motorola brand is likely a way to emphasize Moto. It’s also a chance for consumers to familiarize themselves with the Lenovo brand, which despite being the largest PC manufacturer in the world is still virtually unknown in terms of cell phones and other mobile devices.
Lenovo will introduce the Moto as a high-end product, and simultaneously push its Vibe phone brand in the Moto market. Relationships and sales channels within Motorola territories will be used to market Vibe phones costing less than $100. Motorola Chief Operating Officer Rick Osterloh said he intends to bring Vibe options to the U.S. market, though it probably won’t happen in 2016. Osterloh compared Lenovo’s strategy to the coexistence of Banana Republic and Old Navy, which are both owned by Gap.
He remarked that failing to cover the market from top to bottom didn’t make a whole lot of sense.
If you owned a Motorola Razr, StarTac, or even Rokr, the Motorola iTunes phone, you’re probably feeling a bit nostalgic at the moment.