Handset maker Motorola Mobility, a Google subsidiary, has pulled all of its phones and tablets from the German market, following unfavorable rulings over patents. This has got to be a huge blow as the search Goliath has been struggling to return Motorola to profitability after it had acquired the ailing cell phone company for $12.5 billion, gaining a treasure trove of 17,000 mobile technology patents. Motorola reported an operating loss of $233 million during the second quarter so you could imagine that any disruption in sales is not going to look good in its next earnings report…
Charles Arthur, writing for The Guardian, speculates that injunctions by Apple and Microsoft probably persuaded Motorola to pull devices from the German market:
Google’s handset subsidiary Motorola Mobility (MMI) has abruptly withdrawn all its Android devices from sale in Germany, apparently after failing to overturn patent judgments won by Microsoft and Apple.
The move might presage a full-scale retreat from Germany by MMI, which is seeking deep job cuts and whose new chief executive, Google’s Dennis Woodside, wants to focus on higher-end sales in fewer countries than at present.
This is Motorola’s German web site on Monday, the smartphone section.Keine produkt!
And the page for tablets.
Motorola attempted to downplay the withdrawal by arguing that its focus on fewer mobile devices means it wants to “phase out some of our lower tier devices in Europe/Germany”.
In reality, a ruling last month put a pressure on Motorola to pull all Android devices from the German market after Apple won a decision relating to a patent it owns. Motorola will make necessary changes to the Android software to bypass Apple’s patented technology, at which point updated devices should go back on sale.
Google appears to be tiring of the patent wars and has recently appeased to Apple by unexpectedly withdrawing Motorola’s second ITC complaint against Apple. It’s also found itself increasingly scrutinized by the government over smartphone patents and the conduct of its subsidiary Motorola.
Full patent war map available over at The New York Times.
Google in August let go 4,000 Motorola employees, or one-fifth of its global workforce, generating a $300 million severance cost. Google, however, is far from being done trimming the fat from Motorola: it’s going to spend an additional $40 million to help Motorola exit unprofitable markets and close facilities.
Google wrote in a statement:
Motorola has continued to refine its planned restructuring actions and now expects to broaden those actions to include additional geographic regions outside of the U.S.
Google last month attempted to preempt Apple’s iPhone 5 keynote by taking the wraps off three new Motorola handsets: the Droid Razr HD, Droid Razr Maxx HD and Droid Razr M.
The Droid Razr HD is Motorola’s flagship device, featuring a 1.5GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM, a huge 4.7-inch Super AMOLED HD display, an eight-megapixel camera, a massive 2,500mAh battery that Motorola claims is good for 16 hours of talk time, or 24 hours of mixed use.
Here’s a macho teaser for the new Razr.
Another masculine ad.
I kinda like that one, makes me wanna go out and buy a Razr HD right off the bat.
Motorola also ridiculed Apple Maps flaws with its iLost ad, but eagle-eyed watchers quickly accused Google of faking the ad by using a phony street address to exaggerate errors in Apple’s mapping service.
Are Motorola handsets still hot?