Motorola swings axe at TTPCom
Lays off half the staff
Motorola is pruning its Cambridgeshire presence by laying off 155 people at TTPCom, the technology firm snapped up by the American phone manufacturer in March 2006.
TTPCom, not to be confused with former sibling The Technology Partnership which is still headquartered nearby, specialised in providing a modular platform for mobile phone handsets and was already working closely with Motorola when they were bought for £100m almost two years ago.
But Motorola never really knew what it had acquired. According to insiders the phone company not only failed to provide specifications of what it wanted, but also split development of the platform between two different ODMs (Original Design Manufacturers - the companies that actually make the handsets before the Motorola logo is stuck on them), therefore managing to fragment the platform in spite of owning it.
TTPCom was already losing key staff, including founder Dr. Tony Milbourn who left last year to start his own consultancy. These cuts will see the scale of the company drastically reduced.
More generally, this looks like more floundering from Motorola, which never appears comfortable with software. Its recent endorsement of both Symbian (through an investment in UIQ) and Google's Android platform demonstrates that while it might be able to make hardware, it really has no strategy when it comes to putting software onto it. ®
I don't know what all the fuss is. They might be a good company, but their phones are absolute crap. Non standard design, over complicated UI, unpressable buttons, REALLY annoying sounds, cruddy workmanship and all the rest of it. And overpriced.
Let them go bankrupt. It will make the world a better place.
Pie Man has the right half
Excellent post Pie Man! I am also a 10 year Motorolan and feel this is exactly what is wrong with our strategy. We have no consistency from top down. We branch into too many OS'es to satisfy too many customers without getting anyone of them to be a hit. We've put our eggs into Linux, Microsoft, Symbian, baskets only to come up a few eggs short in each basket. The business is definitely changing from hardware to software. It has been seen in the industry that even mediocre hardware (iPod) when paired with excellent software (iTunes) can create an experience greater than its parts. I've personally had 3 iPods crash and die on me, and I still happily go out and buy another with out any regrets. I don't think the average Motorola phone user would be so forgiving. I do believe we have the hardware part right, if we regain the software edge somehow we should be in pretty good shape for 3 years ago.
That's a slightly simiplified view. MOT have a pretty sensible approach to phones: voice first, because that's what most people do with their phones. It could be more a policy decision (guided or misguided) rather than being Americans at "fault".
From what I saw, it was American-lead, but there was a lot of room for non-American input, and the US-based teams were pretty switched on.
The biggest problem was some VP or other, whatever their nationality, would get a bee in their bonnett about what the market wants, and this was dictated to the product design teams, with market reasearch tagged on at the end. Too many big-shots making decisions on a whim!