Consumers who have watched the cell phone market for years, on back into the depths of history when cell phones first surfaced, will be saddened to learn that the iconic Motorola brand name will be phased out by Lenovo during 2016. Lenovo will continue to use the “Moto” mark and the stylized “M” logo on high end smartphones and other devices, but all devices will otherwise be unified under the Lenovo brand around the globe.
Rick Osterloh, the chief operating officer for Lenovo’s Motorola unit, revealed this change in an interview on Thursday at CES, noting the business division would “slowly phase out Motorola and focus on Moto.”
Motorola has experienced the highs and lows of the smartphone market starting with their invention of the cell phone. That was followed by the success of the Motorola DynaTAC establishing the market for mobile phones. Just before the advent of smartphones, Motorola’s Razr flip phone ruled the roost in the mid-2000s.
Since then it has been a rough ride for Motorola as other brands rose to prominence. Eventually, in 2012 Google bought the smartphone business from Motorola. A mere two years later the company was sold to Lenovo.
More recently, especially with the advent of their on-line Moto Maker system that allowed for relatively massive customization of smartphones, Motorola has been experiencing a bit of a resurgence in popularity. Lenovo appears to recognize Motorola fans are still around and CEO Yang Yuanqing describes Motorola as “our treasure.”
Although Lenovo may be retiring the Motorola name, they clearly plan to capitalize on the goodwill that has built up around the Moto line of devices. Yang appears to also have a great deal of confidence in Osterloh and his management team as Lenovo will move all mobile operations, including the Lenovo Vibe line of budget devices, to that business unit. Osterloh’s group will also retain the Motorola name for their unit, so it is definitely a marketing change to drop Motorola as a brand from their devices.
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