Our first-ever product was designed in to address a problem that continues to exist today: battery life. The Galvin Manufacturing battery eliminator allowed battery powered radios to run on household electricity. Did you know that on a 5G network, you can download the latest season of your favorite show in HD in the time it takes to board a plane? Did you know at 2 lbs. In the Motorola Sensar pager had a unique pen-sized design that looked radically different from any other pager on the market. It was only 2 ounces and conveniently fit into a pocket.
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With the thinnest profile on a clamshell cell phone of that time and an aluminum body, the RAZR was the first cell phone that doubled as a fashion accessory. Why carry a cell phone and a pager? Today, we continue to push mobile phone limits with moto z and moto mods TM. Debuting in , the moto z is more than just a smartphone — snap on a moto mod TM and transform it into a projector, photo printer, speaker and more.
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In , a Motorola radio transponder aboard the Apollo 11 lunar module relayed the first words from the moon to Earth. The numeric pager could store five character messages — that was a lot back then! Since then, Motorola has continued growing, with a strong presence in various countries in Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific and China.
Did you know the first recorded sale of a Motorola-branded product outside the United States took place in June of with the sale of two Motorola car radios to W. Systems engineers realized that by placing a microprocessor in an IC, and surrounding it with peripheral circuitry, a sub-system was practical.
These sub-systems soon grew to the point where significant amounts of software could be run on the processor, and the customers soon were demanding subsystems along with application-specific peripheral circuits and supporting software.
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This trend was counter for "individual bastions of products" at Moto's chip business. In addition, the various kingdoms each had their own favorite manufacturing centers and dissimilar process technologies in many cases, thus the overall business lacked the centralized manufacturing "clean rooms" to gain economies of scale, along with the inability to offer attractive solutions for systems needs.
Given the huge losses with Iridium, and the need to generate cash, the corporation spun off the "discrete transistor businesses," many of which were located in Phoenix, and On Semiconductor was formed in It persevered under a huge debt load, imposed on it by the financial terms demanded by the leveraged buyout, and was merged into NXP corporation a Dutch firm in As cell phones dominated the corporation, and losses in cell phones dominated the balance sheet, Motorola split itself into two in Motorola Mobility, and Motorola Solutions.
Today, many of the original "guts" of Motorola survive as "Motorola Solutions," for the most part the modern-day essence of the FM radio communications capability. As always, Moto makes great radios.
View all posts by: JK James George. Motorola, RIP. February 10, JK James George. Darrell Carder. Jim, as one who was there for part of the history, and still present to see what the future brings to the semiconductor portion I truly enjoyed reading your blog. So I had to laugh when I read your blog.
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Hi Darrell, Thanks for the comments, and frankly, I'm surprised that no more former Motorolans have not commented. We all were do dedicated to the company. I recall George Hawkins with great admiration. He also was a fellow ham radio operator, so we had lots of "radio" connections, both at work and as a hobby.
Jim G. Paul Marino. So here is another former Motorolan commenting. I had the pleasure to serve under you for a couple of years. Yet we both were in the semiconductor business. It used to be sad to listen to the investors conference calls during which Fred Shlapak would barely get a question. Motorola was always about "radios".
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And when they lost their way coincidentally with the passing away of its industrial chief designer everything went downwards. The semiconductors business lost big with late, buggy etc. The rest is just history which you depicted well. I left in angry. Returned in but left in angrier. Yet, with all the sadness of the demise of Moto Semi, we should remember the beautiful decades we had with what was once a great company.
Paul, I really appreciate and endorse everything you wrote. You are such a good example of the competence and cooperative personality that exemplified the way Motorola was when we did well. So many decisions were based on the short term and protection of all our little empires in the product groups.
And that Bob Weissappel could have not foreseen the advantages that digital technology would being, and that the cell phone would become, from a marketing standpoint, primarily an access point to the Internet applications. These are the really BIG things that the executive suite must being to a company. In our case, they missed it both with inappropriate management selections and a strategy that was fatally faulty. Then there is Iridium that was such a financial disaster.
The chain of these was a killer.
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From a Motorola retiree living in Montana, via email: Jim: I read with interest and nostalgia your article regarding the demise of Motorola. Tried to reply but got a message that FaceBook deleted my post as it might inflame someone. I was kind and respectful. I too lament the demise of a once great company.
Although much lower in the food chain than you it was clear to many at my level E11 that the selection and promotion to the senior management positions was more "Good old boy network" related than those who would have been best for the position. The arrival of Deleted tore down the culture of the Semiconductor Sector. It was, to me, a sign that the peak had passed and that it would be just a matter of time for the final demise.
When one tears down a culture there had better be a replacement in mind and not just chaos.