EXCLUSIVE: Motorola Mobility moves to California

For over a year now the rumor mill has been churning away about whether or not Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha will move the company from Libertyville, IL to San Diego, California. Motorola has not officially announced anything and speculation has remained speculation. The only nugget of info to add fuel to the rumor fire was Sanjay telling the Wall Street Journal last year that “[Motorola] will go where that talent is, and right now, that looks like California.” Now that Moto has split into two separate entities (Motorola Solutions and Motorola Mobility) everyone has their ear to the ground to learn what Sanjay’s decision will be.

A trusted friend of The Noisecast graciously introduced me to a verified source inside Motorola that wishes to remain anonymous. During our conversation I was let in on information that only a few Moto insiders are privy to. Motorola Mobility isn’t planning on moving to San Diego, California, it already has. Motorola has already begun the transition to its new headquarters but wants to keep the details on the hush hush. It was thought that Sanjay would move Moto to California in order to be closer to his family which never left San Diego since he took the reigns at the mobile giant, but it seems that there are many more driving factors to the move than just Sanjay’s immediate personal ties.

Our source told me that Motorola is still trying to dig itself out of the hole it’s been stuck in for quite some time. Motorola underwent some major restructuring a while ago when it began experimenting with Android. The team assigned to Android was not Moto’s finest because Moto thought that Android would be a fad that would die out. It didn’t take Android seriously to begin with so many “superstar” employees were left to work on their legacy systems. When the company realized that Android was the way to go it began to lay off people from all over the company, primarily those involved with legacy systems. Caught in the shotgun blast were those software development “superstars” and Android development was pushed with the less-than-stellar staff it was originally assigned. The result was the much chagrinned Motoblur, alienation from the development community with the implementation of eFuse, buggy hardware and software, lackluster Droid successors, and an overpriced and underperforming tablet.

The departure of such key individuals left Motorola hobbling along on a crutch, unable to wrangle the struggling Android development monster they had originally created. Our source informed me that the move to California was Sanjay’s solution to this problem. Motorola is in a very cozy long-term relationship with Google so not only is it pushing Android as its primary development platform, but Sanjay wants Motorola to cut the distance between Palo Alto and Libertyville in order to further solidify the relationship and so that both companies have more direct access to each other. Motorola has already moved its systems to Google products like Gmail and Google Docs but it was done so on the fly, causing some internal problems due to the lack of Google support inside Motorola.

Sanjay & Co. know that Motorola is behind…very behind. There is a mass hiring spree happening right now in California in hopes that Moto will be able to bring in fresh and new talent to jumpstart the company and bring its Android development not only on par with competing giants like HTC, but beyond it. Sanjay is going “all-in” with his Android bid. Unfortunately in the transition a lot of people are being phased out. In December when the Motorola split-up was being finalized, employees found themselves displaced as those involved in the mobile unit were shifted over to the Libertyville campus from Schaumburg, IL. Now, those same employees plus all the employees who were originally at the Libertyville campus are finding themselves being displaced again. It is unclear as to what the fate of the current Motorola Mobility staff at Libertyville will be. Based on the emphasis our source put on Moto’s west-coast recruiting push, the outlook may be grim for many. This also is a huge blow for the state of Illinois as it is already facing a potential business exodus, as shown by the recent Amazon and Overstock affiliate migration to Indiana.

So it is out with the old and in with the new at Motorola Mobility. New talent equals a better and brighter future, and Sanjay is banking on that. The move already has happened and it is just a matter of time before Motorola officially announces it, as our source has seen the official and final internal documents regarding this transition. Could this move be what Motorola needs to get back in the game? Will being neighbors with Google and hiring an entirely fresh and new staff lead to a Motoblur that doesn’t suck and hardware decisions that aren’t completely counterproductive? Time will tell what Motorola’s fate will be, but for now if you’re looking to be part of the Motorola revamp, send your résumés and start packing your bags for sunny California.

P.S. I’m proud to say that this is the very first Noisecast exclusive, meaning we’re the first to report this! Hopefully there will be many more such occurrences in the near future!

16 thoughts on “EXCLUSIVE: Motorola Mobility moves to California”

      1. But there’s 25 job openings posted for San Diego compared to 200 for Sunnyvale- and some are the same positions.

  1. I’m absolutely shocked that this hasn’t been picked up by bigger media outlets. Just cause this blog isn’t as big as the rest doesn’t make your content irrelevant. Either way, I feel terrible for the people who will be losing their jobs.

  2. Pingback: Motorola will sich verstärkt auf Android konzentrieren | StoneDroid

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