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Motorola parcels up enterprise Wi-Fi biz amid selloff rumours

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Motorola – the bit which makes money and wasn't bought by Google – is looking to offload its Wi-Fi business now that everyone and their dog is flogging access points to enterprises.

Motorola Solutions sells enterprise radios, from handheld walkie-talkies to citywide internet access networks and wireless LAN technologies, but Reuters has been talking to some "people familiar" who reckon wireless LAN is too competitive to be worth keeping.

Wireless LAN contributed only $216.7m to Motorola's revenue in 2012, which is eight per cent of Motorola Solutions' enterprise sales.

The problem is companies like Cisco, who've got heavily into enterprise on the back of their networking strength, and specialist upstarts like Ruckus and Aruba eating into the low end. Companies aren't expecting to buy such commodity hardware from Motorola.

Back in April the CEO, Greg Brown, made it clear the unit wasn't performing well. During an investor conference call (transcript, PDF, as interesting as it sounds):

"First the WLAN business declined 30%, where we simply are not executing well ... We’ve talked about the design expertise, the installed base, leading market share, a new product portfolio. WLAN is different and we’ve got to turn that corner relatively soon, and we’re going to keep a close watch on that business over the next few months."

...and here we are six months later with rumours of a selloff.

In many businesses it's essential to have a portfolio of products, even if some of them are run at a loss, so customers don't go looking elsewhere. But these days enterprise Wi-Fi isn't considered a radio product any more than a TV or a mobile phone falls into the category, and thus divesting itself of the unit isn't likely to hurt Motorola's other sales. ®

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