Will the Motorola gamble hurt open source

Will the Motorola gamble hurt open source

Summary: I don't want to see Android blamed if it can't turn things around. Motorola's problems run deep and go back decades.


Trey Hillman, Kansas City Royals managerMotorola is betting the farm on mobile open source.

While cutting staff, the onetime giant of mobility has apparently dropped Symbian and increased its commitment to the Google Android platform.

This is a little like your favorite manager running the Kansas City Royals. It's still a bad ball team. Supporting Android won't turn it into the Tampa Bay Rays.

While Motorola is maintaining its market share, the fact is that sales are slowing for everyone, and the worldwide recession will only accelerate the trend. Motorola is trading at levels last seen in 1992.

I don't want to see Android blamed if it can't turn things around. Motorola's problems run deep and go back decades.

In the case of Android the challenges are also enormous. What carriers want is a device that will encourage a lot more use of mobile broadband, which the iPhone does. What customers want is less carrier control, something carriers resist.

To succeed, a manufacturer has to negotiate between these two contradictory impulses, mainly by standing at the customer's side. Will Motorola put its foot down when necessary? They have no record of doing so in the past.

Oh, and good luck to Trey Hillman, but as you already know the Red Sox are tougher than the Chunichi Dragons.

Topics: Open Source, Android, Google, Mobility

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  • It won't hurt open source unless it deserves it.

    Motorola won't and isn't the only Android player. Assuming the G1, the others, take off and do well, but Motorola doesn't, it will be hard to point the finger at Android. If all devices languish under Android (name list of potential problems here) then Android may be the root cause, hurting Google/Android and indirectly hurting open source in general.

    I would assume a couple of things though. First, Motorola investigated and tried Android and sees a reason to move away from Symbian, and we know Google has a lot of resources and developer excitement is building, so I am not really concerned it won't be successful (Android, not motorola, lol)

    • The spin goes phone by phone

      Perhaps I should have made this clear. Motorola will be the next company to come up with an Android unit, early next year. If that phone is a piece of garbage, then some observers may put two and two together (this is the other two -- this support for Android) and decide the problem is Android. That would be very premature.
      • Looking at the entire market.

        G1 is already out, and the HTC dream will probably beat Motorola to the market and would be surprised if, by the time Motorola "flopped" (if release 1Q9, then 3Q9) that other devices would not already be out as well. You have a point, but if 2 or more are working very well with Android, pointing at it as the reason for Moto's failure will be easily seen as "spin".

        Now, if all are languishing, OK, and of course, why assume Moto will fail. :D Just outlining the logic flow.

  • Do you really know baseball?

    Several years ago the Rays were the worst team in baseball. Even the Royals could handle them until Lou Pinella was managing them. Admittedly Pinella is now with the Cubs, but he deserves some credit for turning that Tampa Bay franchise around.

    If you want to look for a scapegoat at KC (75-87 in 2008), try David Glass, owner and Walmart honcho, and his sons. It's how the front office has been run since Ewing Kaufmann (Royals first owner) [http://www.kauffman.org/ewingkauffman.aspx] passed away that's really been the problem. You can't run a successful baseball operation like Walmart is run. Cheap merchandise on the field never measures up to first rate talent. It doesn't matter much at all who the manager on the field is. Which I guess is your point. But we saw signs of progress this year. Your analogy is a little out of date. If you wan to pick on a baseball team, try the Washington Nationals (59-102 in '08). Baseball fans know that it's much tougher to compete in the AL. The National League has consistently been inferior over the past 20 years or so. The AL All-Stars have won every game since the infamous tie of '02, and the NL has won only three times in the last 20 years.

    As for World Series Champions, a National League team has only won that 8 times (so far) in the last 25 years. That span includes the win by the Royals in '85. And in those last 25 years 17 different teams (of 30 possible teams) have won the World series, including whoever wins this year. The Expos/Nationals, Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners have never played in the World Series. In the span of Series from 1903 - 2007, the AL leads 61-42 overall.

    Check the Baseball Almanac at http://www.baseball-almanac.com/.
  • RE: Will the Motorola gamble hurt open source

    I would not use Android, ever.
    • RE: I would not use Android, ever.

      No matter how good it becomes? Smart, not!