Motorola will cut jobs, simplify the number of operating systems it uses with a big bet on Google’s Android OS, according to WSJ.

A few days ago Business Week reported that Motorola was working on a new social networking-oriented, Google Android-powered smartphone. Later we pointed out that Motorola’s experiment with Android goes beyond just one phone. Today, The Wall Street Journal reports that Motorola’s bet on Android is much bigger than previously reported.

As we said earlier, the Motorola handset division’s new chief, Dr. Sanjay Jha, had been a big proponent of Google’s Android when he worked for Qualcomm. The Journal report says that his affection for Android is undiminished. He is likely to announce some draconian changes that will see the company double down on Android.

Motorola will cut the number of operating systems it uses to three — Windows Mobile for the high-end phones, Android for mid-tier (very high volume) phones and Motorola’s proprietary P2K OS. Apparently the company was using six different operating systems in its phones — no surprise they were such a mess. Jha is planning large scale job cuts at Motorola’s handset business, and he is also overhauling the manufacturing and supply chain operations of the beleaguered handset maker. The question is, will these steps work?

The current downturn is crimping demand for handsets and impacting every handset maker in the business. It is a downturn that is going to be equally hard for Motorola, since it doesn’t have any hit phones for this holiday season, which means it will keep ceding market share to the likes of Apple, RIM and of course, Nokia, which recently started cranking out CDMA phones.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Sue recently pointed out that carriers are looking to subsidize smartphones, offering them for about $99. This puts pressure on feature phones — the kind Motorola sells. He recently cut his estimated sales for 2008 by 2 million handsets, topping out at 31 million. He is hopeful that some new devices next year will get the company back on track.

That is assuming that the world economy makes a recovery and consumer spending increases. Furthermore, the company is not likely to have its first Android phone on the market for a few quarters — which would give its opponents enough time to press their advantage. The way I see it, Jha’s effort to restore Motorola’s handset business is as difficult is climbing Mount Everest without a tank of oxygen. Still he has to try. If he succeeds, he gets about $100 million over three years and 3 percent of the independent handset business. If he fails — he walks away with about $30 million.

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  1. Yeah but Motorola has no option other than taking bet on Jha.

  2. Will Motorola Go All-In On Android? It Has No Other Choice. Wednesday, October 29, 2008

    [...] the farm on Android would be a gutsy move, as it is still an unproven operating system. And, as Om points out, it could be too little, too late for Motorola’s cell phone business, which has not turned a [...]

  3. What’s a little surprising to me is what Motorola will do with the upcoming Symbian. They’re a founding member of the Symbian Foundation, and their execs have been touting it at recent tradeshows. Those could have been before Jha though …

  4. I fail to see how Mortorola has a saving grace in Android. The hype around Android is troublesome as most people dont seem to understand the realities of Android and hear the words open source and think its the greatest thing since sliced bread.

    Is building a social framework around Android going to save the day for Mortorola? So instead of competing on handset functionality and design they are now going to be competing with Apps and all the social players out there.

  5. TechCrunch Japanese アーカイブ » 万策尽きたモトローラ、Androidに社運を賭ける? Wednesday, October 29, 2008

    [...] 市場でまだ実力が実証されていないOSのAndroidに全財産賭けるなんて、モトローラも随分と胆の据わったことをするものだ。オム・マリックが書いているように、モトローラの携帯電話ビジネスは2006年後半からずっと黒字転換できていないわけで、今さら小さな抵抗であり、遅きに失した感は否めない面もある。 [...]

  6. Motorola is so screwed….relying on an unproven OS. They think a “social networking phone” is going save them? What Fortune 500 executive clamor for it? People in their 20’s all buy Apple…they dont want a Motorola.

    The best part is that they agreed to pay CEO Sanjay Jha $30M even if he fails.

    For more coverage on f*cked companies: http://www.f-ckedcompany.com

  7. How Low Can Moto Go? – GigaOM Thursday, October 30, 2008

    [...] Malik, Thursday, October 30, 2008 at 6:12 AM PT Comments (0) Yesterday I compared Motorola’s co-chief executive officer and CEO of Mobile Devices Dr. Sanjay Jha’s task of [...]

  8. Saurabh Kaushik Thursday, October 30, 2008

    Either it’s Jha or Ojha, the direction is still wrong. Here, Jha is also not planing to do any thing new than his ancestors. His mantra is also to “Follow!!!!”. It is sad to see a leader like Motorola becoming failure due to its mediocre business managers who don’t have any idea of Tech market.

  9. Android Gathers Steam | next2friendsblog.com Thursday, October 30, 2008

    [...] Motorola has announced that it will be using the Android platform for nearly ALL  of it’s mid-level phones.  This [...]

  10. Will Motorola Go All-In On Android? It Has No Other Choice. | Digital World ~ Stay on Top of Tech News! Thursday, October 30, 2008

    [...] the farm on Android would be a gutsy move, as it is still an unproven operating system. And, as Om points out, it could be too little, too late for Motorola’s cell phone business, which has not turned a [...]

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