Google rebuilds Motorola, slashes 20 percent of workforce

Summary:In a company streamlining effort, Google will be cutting 20 percent of the ailing cellphone maker's workforce, according to reports.

Google told staff at Motorola Mobility on Sunday that the company will cut 20 percent of its workforce, the New York Times reports.

motorola mobility google staff layoffs

In addition to reducing staffing levels at the company by approximately 4000 people, in an attempt to streamline the company, Google will also be closing a third of Motorola Mobility's 94 offices worldwide.

One third of the job cut will hit staff based in the United States. Motorola's new executive, Dennis Woodside, told the publication that the ailing cellphone maker will "leave unprofitable markets, stop making low-end devices and focus on a few cellphones instead of dozens."

The $12.5 billion acquisition, which took place in May, was made partly due to Motorola's impressive 17,000 patent portfolio. However, Google also plans to use the company to better their own Android-powered smartphones and tablets.

The cellphone maker struggled before the deal was completed, as it fell far behind competitors Apple and Samsung.

Woodside said:

"We're excited about the smartphone business. The Google business is built on a wired model, and as the world moves to a pretty much completely wireless model over time, it’s really going to be important for Google to understand everything about the mobile consumer."

In addition to the job losses, Google has streamlined Motorola's management -- letting go of 40 percent of its former vice presidents -- and plans to cut down operations in Asia and India. Current research and development setups in Chicago, Sunnyvale and Beijing will also face cutbacks.

The new executive of Motorola also plans to slice the number of mobile devices Motorola produces -- from the 27 it released last year -- to a handful. Woodside feels that developing 'cooler' features on a small number of phones and improving their quality will do more to shore up the ailing company than producing a large number of phones. Some of the features may include voice-recognition sensors and batteries that last for several days.

Towards this goal, Google has created a group called Advanced Technology and Projects within the company, made of just a few dozen people. Regina Dugan, formerly of DARPA, will be running the scheme.

Based on a model borrowed from the agency, metal scientists, acoustics engineers and artificial intelligence experts have been hired by Dugan and are on fixed two-year contracts to try and encourage "a sense of urgency" to improve the company's offerings.

"Motorola is committed to helping them (the employees) through this difficult transition and will be providing generous severance packages, as well as outplacement services to help people find new jobs," the Google spokeswoman said.

Topics: Google

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Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

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