Motorola: From the height of fame to selling yourself

Tram Ho

Motorola’s phones have contributed significantly to the change of the phone manufacturing industry to this day. However, unlike Nokia, Motorola is not too dependent on what has made it successful in the past, but the rise of other phone companies like Apple or Samsung and a number of false investments has caused the segment to Its core business faced many difficulties and had to sell itself.

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Motorola began its founding in Chicago, Illinois, as Galvin Manufacturing Corporation in 1928, after brothers Paul and Joseph Galvin acquired Stewart Battery Company ‘s battery eliminator division for 750. USD. In the beginning, the company continued to manufacture battery replacement devices, allowing battery-operated radios to run on household electricity.

However, the rapid development of radio technology made these machines obsolete; therefore, the Galvin brothers were forced to find a new direction for the company. Very quickly, they switched to making low-cost car radios that could be installed on almost any vehicle. This product has been well received and has given the company enough money to maintain operations.

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The radio was produced by Galvin Manufacturing Corporation (Image: US Industry WWII)

Shortly thereafter, Paul Galvin branded this radio as Motorola, compounded by 2 words Motor (for Motorcar – for cars) and ola – the way to end the popular company name at that time. The company sold its first Motorola-branded radio on June 23, 1930 for $ 30 to Herbert C. Wall, one of the first distributors of Motorola radio products in the United States.

In 1930, the company began selling radio equipment to police departments across America; at the same time, Motorola also built its research and development program with Dan Noble, a pioneer in the field of semiconductor technology and FM radio. This partnership helped Motorola produce the Radio AM SCR-536 which played a particularly important role in Allied communications during World War II. This invention helped the company rank 94th among the US enterprises in terms of contract value signed during this period.

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AM SCR-536 – one of the most important communications equipment of the Allies during World War II (Image: International Military Antiques)

At this time, the Motorola brand became so famous that Galvin Manufacturing Corporation was renamed Motorola, Inc. in 1947. Motorola’s main business at this time was the manufacture and commercialization of television products as well as radio. Since 1958, Motorola has supplied radio equipment for most NASA space flights for decades, including the historic 1969 Moon voyage. Neil Armstrong’s famous quote: “a A small step for man, a giant leap for mankind from the moon is made using a Motorola transceiver.

Two years after the historic trip of Neil Armstrong, Motorola released its first cell phone, which completely changed the history of the company. This phone was developed by engineer Martin Cooper. Despite its rough shape, the phone offers the convenience and mobility that customers have come to expect. In 1983, the company launched the world’s first commercial mobile device – the DynaTAC 8000X, after it was approved by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Not only strong in the phone segment, Motorola is also one of the leaders in semiconductor technology, including integrated circuits used in computers, which are widely used, most notably, Peripherals number 6800 is used in IBM personal computers. Motorola also has a wide range of communications products, including satellite systems, digital cable boxes and modems.

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The first Motorola phone (Image: Newatlas)

Continuing its growth, Motorola introduced many portable mobile devices, including pagers in the following years, and became a leader in the mobile phone manufacturing and telecommunications business. In 1989, Motorola released the MicroTAC, which was the smallest and lightest mobile phone available at the time. Not long after that, Motorola released StarTAC, the first flip phone with a price tag of up to $ 1,000. Despite its high price, but this is an extremely successful product with over 60 million units sold worldwide.

The company launched its first cable modem and completed voice over Internet Protocol (Voip) in 1995, marking a long successful journey. In addition, the company is also implementing a project called Iridium worth billions of dollars with the aim of connecting people around the world by wireless technology through a low orbital satellite system (LEOS ).

However, this also marks a downward cycle for Motorola. Beginning in the second half of 1990, they started to lose money due to the decline in the semiconductor market and pagers, plus the sales of phones fell due to fierce competition from Nokia. In 1998, for the first time in years, Motorola lost its lead to Nokia in the mobile phone industry. 1 year later, the Iridium project was officially put into operation, but not only had technical problems, but the demand for the project was almost absent, mainly due to the high cost of incoming calls. Unusual (about $ 3 a minute). The project ultimately failed, leaving a huge loss for Motorola.

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Iridium, the wrong project that pushed Motorola into crisis (Image: Times)

In 1999, the company started to make profits again and a year later released the first phone with integrated GPRS; Motorola’s number of employees this year peaked at 150,000 people. In 2005, Motorola returned to the No. 2 position in the phone industry with the success of the RAZR model, when it sold 130 million units.

However, before the emergence of Apple and Samsung, Motorola’s market share of phones in the following years decreased. In 2006, the company’s mobile phone market share was about 21%, but by the end of 2007 it fell to only 12% and only 9% by 2009. The company also responded positively to its Motorola phones. Droid is well received by many consumers, but compared to the models of two giants Samsung and Apple, Motorola’s efforts are not enough for them to return to be a giant in the phone manufacturing market.

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Motorola’s share of mobile phones has been decreasing since 2007 (Image: ResearchGate)

By January 2011, Motorola officially split into two separate companies, Motorola Mobility – mainly in the production of phones and Motorola Solutions – working with public safety agencies and the government. in providing telecommunications-related products and services, including 2-way radio systems and public radios to a number of law enforcement agencies.

In 2012, Google acquired Motorola Mobility for $ 12.5 billion, before selling its cable modem and decoder business to Arris and selling the entire company in 2014 to Lenovo for $ 2.91 billion. Under the management of Lenovo, the company has still released a number of notable smartphones such as Moto Z, Moto One …

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Motorola split into two companies, Mobility and Solutions since 2011 (Image: Engadget)

Up to now, Motorola is still known for its phones manufactured by Lenovo, along with the networking and telecommunications technologies at Motorola Solutions. Although the physique is no longer the peak, but Motorola’s role in the electronics and telecommunications industry is very important. Along with that, their inventions in the past have completely changed the telephone and telecommunications industry, playing an important role in the development of mankind to this day.

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Source : Genk