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

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.
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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