Motorola and Motorola Solutions
When we added the company to RuggedPCReview.com's Rugged Computing Industry leaders in 2006, Motorola was a giant company involved in many businesses with 2006 sales of almost US$43 billion. It was one of the largest cellphone makers and heavily involved in wireless infrastructure and broadband services. Prior to 2006, the company had been organizd into mobile handsets, consumer broadband services, enterprise mobility, and networks and government. In 2006, enterprise mobility and networks and government were merged into a new business unit, Motorola Networks & Enterprise, and the rest of the company was organized into "Connected Home Solutions" and "Mobile Devices."
Subsequently, Motorola beefed up its enterprise mobility offerings by acquiring Symbol Technologies (completed in January of 2007), the company which had once acquired Telxon which, itself, had once owned Itronix, which eventually became part of General Dynamics. In the transaction, Symbol was positioned as the core of Motorola's enterprise mobility business within the then US$13 billion Networks & Enterprise business unit (read about Motorola's Symbol acquisition). Symbol's lineup greatly increased Motorola's existing arsenal of handheld ruggeds at the time, such as the MW810 vehicle computer, the ML910 rugged notebook, and the HC700 Series of rugged handhelds.
More change happened. In January of 2011, Motorola completed its split into two companies. What used to be Motorola became Motorola Mobility Holdings, or Motorola Mobility for short, and the former Motorola itself changed its name to Motorola Solutions. In essence, Motorola jettisoned its volatile boom-and-bust phone business to concentrate on the much more stable and predictable vertical market offerings developed and sold via Motorola Solutions. At the time of the split, the cellphone side had annual revenuews of about US$11.5 billion and the solutions side between US$8 and 9 billion (we reported on the split in a blog artile entitle "Motorola, and the corporation names, corporation games thing").
The Motorola Solutions side prospered, but Motorola Mobility, despite being first to market with a major Android phone, continued on an up-and-down cycle and was acquired in 2011 by Google (see Facts about Google's acquisition of Motorola). In 2012, Motorola Solutions absorbed Psion and by early 2013, the company reported full year sales of US$8.7 billion, split roughly into 31% from the company's enterprise sales side and 69% from their government sales segment.
While today the name "Motorola" still conjures up images of wireless communication services and cellphones, the company has a history in rugged mobile computers. Back in 1995, we reviewed the Motorola Forte CommPad (see picture to the right) and called it "one of the most outstanding examples of intelligent, functional design we've seen."
Also in 1995, Motorola tested the waters with two avant-garde wireless handhelds in the Magic Cap-based Motorola Envoy and the Newton-based Marco, about which we had the following to say:
Marco is essentially a Newton MessagePad 120 with a built in wireless radio modem. However expensive and bulky Marco is now, it's the real model for a personal digital assistant. When these things are half an inch thick, have backlit color screens, run for a week on a battery charge, come with an Internet email account, and cost less than $500, the market will explode just like cellular phones did.
Given the smartphone revolution, our prediction was on the mark, and Motorola was on the right track.