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Google to remake Motorola in its image, cut back on staff

Google’s acquisition of Motorola was one of the biggest tech stories of 2011. Now that the paperwork’s cleared though, we can begin to get a clearer picture of what the internet giant plans to do with the company.

The first order of business, apparently, is to fire nearly 4 000 Motorola employees. According to The New York Times, Google will cut the tech company’s staff numbers by 20% and close a third of its 94 offices worldwide.

Holding true to Larry Page’s “more wood behind fewer arrows” approach, Google will exit all of Motorola’s unprofitable markets, stop making low-end devices and focus on making a much narrower range of mobile phones.

The tech giant has also reportedly culled around 40% of Motorola’s management, meaning that it’s more likely to be able to sculpt the company in its own image. If it’s to turn things around though, drastic changes are probably necessary.

According to the Times, 14 out of the last 16 quarters have been unprofitable for Motorola’s phone division. That said, Google will also have to do something spectacular to make a mark on a smartphone industry currently dominated by Apple and Samsung.

The approach it’s taking seems to lean towards the Cupertino-based giant’s more focused way of doing things. And as the Nexus 7 and Galaxy Nexus prove, Google is capable of making beautiful, incredibly high-functioning products when it works with the right partners.

Thing is, there’s always been a nagging sense that it couldn’t quite do everything it wanted to with those devices.

Here’s the bite though. It’s starting from way behind. Making Motorola cool again won’t be an easy task, not by a long shot. Then again, we are talking about the company that used skydivers, abseilers and bike riders for its last big launch.

Author | Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter

Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter
Stuart Thomas joined the Burn Media team in 2011 while finishing off an MA in South African Literature. Eager to prove his geek credentials, he allowed himself to be thrown in the deep and did his best stay afloat. When not fused with his keyboard, you can find him... More