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Motorola Mobility gets downgraded. (Or How's that Android-only strategy working out for ya?)

Motorola was at one time a big Microsoft partner, making one of the "slimmest" Windows Mobile devices back in the hey day. Then, surprisingly, they backed completely away from MS, going steady with Google. To refresh, back in February of this year, Christy Wyatt, corporate vice president of software and services product management for Motorola, was boasting about their Android-only approach and criticised Windows Phone 7:

"I don't envision us using Microsoft. I would never say never but it's not something we're entertaining now". Going further, she brags "We're the only vendor who is 100 percent Android".

Reason? "We would like an opportunity to create unique value and we don't feel we could with a closed platform", referring of course to the Windows Phone restrictions on modifying the OS. Obviously, Android was a panacea, allowing the company to flourish and dominate the market, especially with their cozy Verizon relationship under the marketing gimmick of 'Droid. 

Then about five months passed and whoops, Motorola is back in a slump having their stock drop 38%. From the Dow Jones Newswire:

“Motorola Mobility’s share of the Google Android-powered smartphone market has plunged as Samsung, LG and Sony Ericsson have gotten up to speed, BMO says, and more competition is on the way from low-end players like China’s Huawei.“MMI had an “early mover” advantage with its release of the Droid in 2009, but its Android share slid to 14% in 1Q from 33% a year earlier, analysts say. BMO sees MMI, the leader in the Android race in early 2010, coming in fifth in 2Q."

As a result, BMO is now downgrading Motorola Mobility "...to under perform, cuts EPS targets for this year and next and lowers price target to $19 from $26". Ouch.

Anyone remember the RAZR and what happened with that winning strategy? Evidently Motorola doesn't. It's clear that the Android market is completely flooded with similar devices, is cut throat and is harder and harder for companies to differentiate their products. Combined with Motorola's one-trick pony attempts at innovation, this was bound to happen. While adding Windows Phone to their portfolio might not completely turn them around, we would think it might help a smidge.

Come on Moto, do the right thing. Call up Microsoft and make a deal to make some Windows Phones--perhaps even throwing out a new, unique design (the Motorola Q and Q9 were pretty awesome). You make good keyboards and have great speakers, so lets help each other out. You're not Nokia, but you're not bad either. Friends?

Source: MarketBeat (WSJ)

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

36 Comments
  • I think now "Christy Wyatt" has to go and cry and beg Microsoft to help them and let them have a license to Make Windows Phone and change her stupid comments.I am just laughing at Motorola right now and can't be more happy.They did some marketing gimmick with "Droid" with help of their partner "Verizon" and both played dirty game behind the scene and trashing Microsoft and now you see the result. Verizon will pay for their dirty game sooner or later as well.When you walk around and give BS comments like that about the biggest and most important software company on earth then I guess you deserve this happen to you.If they are going to fall and sink just let them. They deserve nothing more.
  • motorola droids are the biggest pieces of **** on the market.
  • I've always considered the Droids to be fairly ugly phones. If you do decide to support WP7, then please, no copy/paste designs. HTC has that covered. Also, this makes it even more obvious that Nokia probably had the right idea going with WP7. The market is flooded with Android. Nokia probably would have put out a great Android phone, and it would of quickly gotten lost in a sea of Android phones. Plus, Google wouldn't give Nokia the okay to use their existing services in place of Google's, so I'm sure that had something to do with it too.
  • Dont think Motorola would bring any value to WP7, they were banking on motoblur on their androids and that didnt work out for them. If they sink let them do it and not taint WP7 by association. Or they could always go with Symbian :)
  • Thank you, this is EXACTLY what I was thinking.Motorola clearly hasn't had any idea what they've been doing for years. Let's just keep them from WP7 altogether. Microsoft already has two exceptionally strong hardware developers in Samsung and HTC (But especially Samsung). Moto can stew in their own mess.People should have seen that about Android from the beginning anyways. It's way too competitive out there in regards to that OS. While I'm a big supporter of open source, it means your device really needs to shine against everyone else's. WP7 might be closed, but it certainly seems like MS has been fairer than Apple in terms of tight fisted control.
  • i agree. motorola would taint the good wp7 name
  • OMG!!! The RAZR was such a PIECE!!!! My buddy went thru like 5 of em before deciding the same as I told him from the get-go...
  • all the droid phones looks cheap. Their keyboard felt really bad compared to touch pro 2. The Droid which had no spring assisted felt cheap too. The Droid X looks just weird. Their only good phone was the RAZR.
  • All Motorola Droid phones are made out of metal. Save for the Droid 2. but the build quality is farrrrrrr from cheap. Sorry.
  • Once Nokia kicks in with WP7 production and the mango update is out and we're up to par with iOS and Android then there shouldn't be anything holding back WP's sales from going up while at the same time the droid phone are busy trying to kill each other, and blackberry slips farther into Palm land then if/when motorola comes asking for a WP license MS could totally be an **** and say no, or **** give them one but charge a bit higher.
  • I've got no love for Motorola, but this article reads like a WMPowerUser fanboy gloat-fest. I've always considered this site better than that.
  • its a good article.
  • @Wheezle Sometimes it's okay to call a spade a spade and in this case, Motorola has made some very bad business decisions and it's costing them.
  • Oh please wasn't Motorola the one that dissed MS and the Windows Phone? WPCentral last I checked is a Windows Phone news website so what else is the author suppose say? I'm having a Charlie Brown moment right now good grief!! Or was that Linus or Lucy or Peppermint Patty...... somebody help me out lol
  • I never understood Motorola's approach.Look at a company like Samsung. They made a reference design Galaxy S and then basically copied that across the major US carriers with slight variation. We see the same thing from HTC with their various form factors. Moto on the other hand has 12 different handsets, with minimal similarities on various carriers, it makes no sense.I think Moto is good at pushing form factors (Razr, original Droid, Droid Pro) and I'd love to see them make windows phones. Whether it's Nokia, HTC, Moto, or a Dark Horse, WP7 needs a hardware champion.
  • Motorola used to make good phones but that a long time ago. It not like they are getting a huge financial backing from Google to be Android exclusive. They cannot afford to put all eggs in one basket. They should look at another OS like WP7 and WebOS.
  • This reminds me of IBM who did not want Bill Gates computer back in the 80's hahahah it made IBM realize they made a big mistake to not get PC Computer's windows software. Well this is like Motorola making a big mistake not to work with Wp7. Has who cares of motorola i for one never gotten a motorola phone i always think of them has Junk phones. HTC is my type of phone
  • Please Motorola, stay away from WP7. Motorola would be negative for the image of WP7.
  • Motorola's phones give off the most radiation in the cellphone industry. No loss for Windows Phone users here -- I'm good without the brain cancer. http://articles.cnn.com/2011-06-01/tech/cell.phones.radiation.levels_1_s...9 phones listed in the top 10 highest radiation, that's disgraceful.
  • So, you want Motorola to jump in a market that's sold/activated a total of 3 million units total and compete with 7 or 8 other manufacturers. Seems like they should keep taking their chances with Android, where 500,000 units A DAY is activated! Seems like there's more opportunity with Android. You make no sense by saying it was a mistake going with Android.
  • How many of those are the same people with different phones?
  • I've taken my wife's Android phone back to Sprint three times because it likes to go into Airplane Mode by itself and not come back out. So I guess count me three times. ;)
  • LOL! How's that Android tablet strategy working out for them? I'll tell you. It's not. Android is failing massively on tablets. I hope Microsoft doesn't license Windows 8 to Motorola for tablets, just to see them squirm.
  • As much as I liked Android when I first purchased my Evo last summer, I soon began to realize with each passing day that this platform has major problems. Battery life, rogue apps and programs constantly running wild in the background and needing to be shut down, malware, and force closing wore me out. I soon began having flashbacks of my dreaded WM experience. One day I saw a video of the upcoming WP and I haven't looked back. Android reminds me of that fine and nice looking guy that you meet from across a crowded room. He wines and dines you for a few weeks. He is the best thing that you've ever had(smile). Then you find out he has 24 kids by 24 different women. His successful company that he owns is really a local business license anyone can get for 21.00. And that fancy car that he drives is constantly hunted by the Repo man. LMAO. You get my point? By the way this isn't myyyyyyy personal experience just saying lol.
  • @1jaxstate1 I never said it was mistake going with Android. I said it was a mistake going ONLY with Android. Big difference, note it.
  • Well, if Motorola just humbles down and accept that they're wrong, I'd give them another chance.
  • Initially, I wondered why Motorola was not going to be a OEM for WP7, as I felt the Motorola name was easily recognizable and would give WP a boost. But given that Motorola and Microsoft are currently in litigation, it probably really is best that they aren't an OEM. Even if they settle, I really don't see what Motorola has to offer the WP platform, especially since Nokia is now partnering with Microsoft.
  • Guys on the treocentral page the logos for TIPB and WPCentral are transposed wp is under tipb and TIPB is under WP Central NEED TO FIX IT!!!!!!
  • I would much rather see the current WP7 OEMs stop farting around with WP7, and produce real phones with dual cores, front facing camera, and qHD screen resolutions. Stephen Elop was right when he stated that current WP7 OEMs were doing garbage work on WP7.
  • What everybody get it wrong is everyone still think android will survive and even thrive. Wrong. android is a dead platform. Those ugly, slow, buggy phone are nowhere as good as with iphone or Windows Phone. Moto's problem is two folded: Win8 tablets, they are obviously not on the list of making it, and you know what? their android tablet doesn't sell. So? Second, WP7, they are confident even at this moment android will outperform WP7, this is stupidly wrong. Certainly in 2012, there are a lot for them to learn.
  • I loved my original Q, and even more my Q9 Napoleon that was never released. I hated my Droid 2 Global. The Q's were great form factors for the time - thin, light, great keyboards, and bulletproof radios. My droid 2 was a mess - heavy like a brick, when roaming in Europe the phone would crash every single time it lost a signal, had problems getting data, apps were incompatible with blur, etc. Android is the problem for most of that. Customizing android is a waste of time since all flavors of android are essentially the same (same google market, same google **** same UI layout). Either use stock android and minimize your costs in software, or get your own OS if you want to differentiate in software.
  • I loved my Moto Q too. I still like the form factor and the keyboard. I replaced it with an HTC Touch Pro when my upgrade was due. My two years with the Touch Pro was like a jail sentence. That phone was terrible. I was a little reluctant about my HTC Arrive but since it is all Sprint offers I picked one up. So far it has been awesome.
  • wpcentral.com,you keep deleting my message, why? am i in your black list or something?
  • We don't have a black list, my bet is over-active spam filtering. Looking into it, sorry.
  • Thanks, fixed.
  • I hope that doesn't happen to Nokia. Come on Motorola make a super slim windows phone and call it the RZOR 7.