What Happened to Motorola?

I am watching a Netflix series called Genius, this series traces bold advances that grew out of competition between great thinkers, including Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, and other rival duos. You realize the importance of competition in the technology industry and if you do not adapt quick enough you will become obsolete. We have seen it happen to the biggest brands in the world, Black Berry, Nokia and Motorola. I love Netflix and I love their story as well, it’s the perfect example of what not to do when you are in the technology business, the small guy can take you out of business. It’s hard not to marvel over the history of Motorola and what they have done over the years and the influence they have had in the tech industry. What I find interesting is that most of the big companies during those days started as radio manufacturers and that also led to the invention of television. (check out the 3rd episode of Genius on Netflix) 

Reed Hastings approached former Blockbuster CEO John Antioco and asked for $50 million to give away the company he founded — Netflix. Antioco, thinking that it was a “very small niche business,” ended the negotiations and didn’t buy Netflix, which at the time was a DVD mailing service, according to Variety.  Now Netflix —  just short of being worth the same as CBS last year — soared past the television network owner with a $32.9 billion market valuation. Netflix also reached the 50 million mark in subscribers of its paid service and became available in 40 countries

While I was in New York, I discovered the history of the brand and only then you realize that Motorola actually played an important role in the cellular phone business. Motorola actually had the technology figured out long time ago and obviously they were the first company to commercialize a cell phone back in 1983 (that’s 34 years ago). You ask yourself how did such a huge company disappear from the South African market, what happened? Motorola disappeared worldwide in 2013 but for South Africans we haven’t seen Motorola in a long time, actually the last popular Motorola was the Razr and that’s back in the 2000’s. I remember wanting to have this phone so bad but I couldn’t afford because it was premium phone at the time. They also had so many vibrant colours while other mobile manufacturers were not as brave.


In 2014 Chinese tech company Lenovo bought Motorola Mobility from Google but, as part of the deal, Google retained much of Motorola Mobility’s patents (which is the whole reason many people thought Google wanted Motorola Mobility in the first place). And it seems like Motorola is back with a smart Android phone and it also wants a piece of the pie. We all know that the technology industry is unpredictable and anyone really can make a comeback while everyone is looking at Apple and Samsung, no one is looking at the under dogs and Motorola is one of them because they have been producing interesting devices in America and partnering with interesting brands such as Hasselblad to give them the edge. It will be interesting what Lenovo does with Motorola in South Africa and the rest of African countries. Since they will be coming back in South Africa with their own offering of the smart phone, I can’t wait to see what they offer differently to the market. What I have discovered is that Lenovo has been doing smartphone for a while now but they are not as edgy but I believe that this partnership will benefit both companies but mostly will bring back Motorola as a strong competitor in the tech game.