Yesterday Motorola CEO Greg Brown told board members and shareholders that, among a lot of other bad news, the company is no closer to finding someone to lead the company's rotting cellphone business (which Moto is in the middle of spinning off as its "Mobile Devices" unit). One shareholder remarked, "You're not doing your job that you're paid for. Either put up or get out." That investor, like the rest of us, has witnessed the slow-mo train wreck that's been that handset business in the days since the RAZR peaked; the things brought to light in the insider letter I published on Engadget just reinforces the fact that it's time for a change at the top. Some even suggested that I take over Motorola's handset business. I thought it over -- okay, I'll bite if Greg does.
The problem with so many American technology companies today -- especially in the mobile space -- is that while they have no dearth of business acumen at the top of the pyramid, they're typically dry on vision and foresight. They spend brief periods of time innovating, and then milk a technology, brand, patent, or some combination therein for as long as they can get away with it (or in Moto's case, way longer). They play it safe and go for the easy money. Motorola's handset business has come to define this in the gadget world.