Motorola can rest easy, even if sales do not impress anyone

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Motorola can rest easy, even if sales do not impress anyone
Sales figures that were projected by Strategy Analytics and reported in The Wall Street Journal about the Motorola Moto X would have a bigger impact if Motorola’s Mobility unit were still part of the “old Motorola” and not part of the Google machine.

I could compare all sorts of sales trends with Samsung, Apple or more aptly, Nokia, all of which are outperforming Motorola at the moment. It would be a fair comparison too, flagship-to-flagship and measure the sales to determine how well everyone is doing.

Indeed, if Strategy Analytics’ figures are correct, 500,000 units sold in a quarter is pretty abysmal by standards that measure high-volume distribution channels. This is Motorola, the company that pretty much invented the cellular telephone. This is the company that brought us massive hits like the StarTac and RAZR. Verizon in particular has enjoyed great success with Motorola’s DROID line of devices.  This is a company that knows what it is doing and the world wants to see a winner.

That is not so much of a pressure point for Motorola anymore, not when you have the ultra-deep-pockets of Google backing your play. Google has a method to its madness and when you are generating buckets of cash through ad sales, anything else is gravy, all gravy.

I am talking about a company that subsidizes equipment in direct competition with itself through the Nexus line. I am talking about a company behind Chromebook devices and the Chrome OS, arguably the only line of products that Motorola is outselling at the moment. I am talking about a company that is experimenting with balloons to bring internet connectivity to remote locations. I am talking about a company that has so much money, it built not one, but two floating barges made of recycled shipping containers for the sole purpose of throwing parties while showing off Google Glass (though the argument could be made that it was just to throw parties, everyone likes a party).

The custom order feature to the Moto X will continue to be a differentiating factor in sales and now that it is no longer an exclusive, it will certainly help sales a bit.

The custom order feature to the Moto X will continue to be a differentiating factor in sales and now that it is no longer an exclusive, it will certainly help sales a bit.

That is just a portion of what is going on, but you get my drift. Personally, I think it is great that a company like Google has the luxury (and cash) to look at ideas and challenges from literally every angle, think of unorthodox solutions and implement them (internet connectivity via orbiting balloons!). This bodes well for Motorola too. The Moto X brought forth a lot of innovative thinking and provided a smooth running package without bleeding edge specs to make it happen. On top of that, they are made (assembled) to custom order in the United States, no small feat given the labor landscape in this global economy.

On the flip side of that though, Google also pared down Motorola’s offerings substantially. The DROID line is nowhere to be found on Motorola’s web-site. All you see are the Moto X, Moto G, some accessories and even baby monitors and cordless phones (you know, plain old telephones).

Now if we want to see “real” sales numbers out of Motorola, then it, along with Google need something like the Moto G. Decent, if not class leading, specs and more importantly, a low price for emerging markets.  The competition in this space is fierce, and emerging companies out of China who basically work for nothing and sell their stuff almost as cheaply, as well as players with well managed distribution channels like Samsung and Nokia will not go quietly into the night.

Even then, I am not sure it will really matter if the Moto G is a runaway success or not. Google has shown that it has staying power and the ability to position itself to fill niches that many people did not know existed. This is done through the vast array of services that Google provides for free in exchange for ad sales and whatever secret sauce is used for data mining the rest.

As long as Motorola is able to play a role in servicing the vision that Google has for the world at large, the company is going to get what it needs to do the job. Sales are important, but clearly not the only driver in Google’s eyes, as the news about Motorola’s Moto X sales are not doing anything to Google’s stock price. If Motorola were flying solo, like BlackBerry is right now, the story and projections would be much gloomier.

Motorola has time, and Google’s money, to do things right (or anyway they want for now).

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20 Comments

1. apple4never

Posts: 1064; Member since: May 08, 2013

the power of google.................amazing

2. woodshop20

Posts: 459; Member since: Sep 14, 2013

Of course they can rest easy. Google owns them and supports them with a pile of money.

5. AJtheAndroid

Posts: 42; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

That's essentially what the article is saying

7. Gawain

Posts: 431; Member since: Apr 15, 2010

He didn't read the article.

10. Finalflash

Posts: 4062; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Well what they are missing is that Google (unlike MS) does not want to be a giant hardware powerhouse. They just want to make cool stuff happen for now (that pushes their ads). So Moto will likely only be used to hit the key spots in Google's current weaknesses. The only downside is that if you start directly competing with your partners, you end up alienating them like MS did with almost everyone of theirs partners by going the Apple route. So I don't know why people are tracking the Google presence on hardware thinking it will go anywhere when Google doesn't really care much for it.

3. Doakie

Posts: 2470; Member since: May 06, 2009

The only way that those abysmal sales numbers effect me is that I can't find one for a reasonable price on Craigslist. People are asking $400-450 for them. In a world where Nexus 5s start out at $350 those prices aren't justified.

16. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

"In a world where Nexus 5s start out at $350...." The only thing that's missing is the Epic Movie Trailer voice over dude. You make a great point though.

4. JerryTime

Posts: 468; Member since: Nov 09, 2013

Either way Motorola increased their market share this year, so it sounds like things are looking up for them.

6. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

I blame who ever is in charge putting low end specs on the X phone 199$ 2yr contract. That guy should be fired.

9. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

$100 on contract and $400 off contract and it would of done well.

14. JerryTime

Posts: 468; Member since: Nov 09, 2013

Yeah, the price that Motorola charged for it at retail is what drove the contractual price up with providers, and ultimately hurt the sales. I also think that combined with at&t having the Moto Maker cornered until the 11th of this month was a huge mistake too, and ultimately hurt the launch of the Moto X as well.

8. LindaC

Posts: 10; Member since: Oct 31, 2013

I still keep my Razor phone for souvenir. It was the coolest phone made by Motorola for many years

17. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

Twas the #1 selling phone in the world before June 2007.

19. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

except the Iphone wasnt a huge seller initially (Was $500-600 depending on the config) and prior to 2009, Blackberry was actually the #1 selling Smartphone. The Iphone 3GS is when Apple really started chomping up Marketshare, then Android got its licks in with the Motorola Droid and the HTC Evo, and so on.

11. jan25

Posts: 470; Member since: Feb 26, 2012

But what did Google prove with Moto X, if the sales figures are irrelevant? Granted, it's a great performing phone given the specs, but if it were at a more affordable price tag or if it were available world wide, then Google would have accomplished something.

12. Fuego84

Posts: 357; Member since: May 13, 2012

I WANT AN MOTOROLA NEXUS 6!

13. boosook

Posts: 1442; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

In my opinion, the next Nexus could really be a Motorola. During the first period, HTC was the leading Android manufacturer. They built the first Android phone (the HTC Dream) and the first Nexus (Nexus One). Then came Samsung... and they made two Nexus phones (Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus). Then was LG's turn, and they also made two phones (Nexus 4 and Nexus 5). There is a sort of logic in this trend. It's likely that LG won't make the next Nexus. They've already made two. And IMHO the next 2 Nexus will be made by Motorola.

15. W.P._Android_in_that_Order

Posts: 208; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

Motorola phones seem to have the best reception too which is a plus for rural people.

18. Jehovah

Posts: 69; Member since: Jun 25, 2013

To think that Google payed more for Motorolla than MS did for Nokia... It is just me or, inovation and sales wise, Microsoft made a much better deal? It is tempting to speculate what would a marriage between Google and Nokia could have produced...

20. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

Microsoft had the luxury of sending in a trojan horse to nosedive the value of Nokia. Motorola was struggling some but nowhere near as bad as Nokia was.

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