Reports say Motorola wants to expand its Android team from 50 to 350 developers as country's top cell phone seller seeks to find its way out of a prolonged period of slumping sales. Although Motorola has its own Java-Linux initiative, its interest in Android mobile developers could indicate the company is searching for a new direction.
Almost a year ago, bloggers
were speculating that Motorola was hiring
"scads" of Android
developers. Apparently, Motorola still is, as it scrambles to cash in on the
rush to Android, Google's Linux-based mobile operating system.
According to several reports, Motorola,
the top handset
maker in the United States,
is heavily recruiting to increase its Android developer team from 50 to 350
members. Motorola is a founding member of the Open Handset Alliance, a powerful
alliance of technology providers organized to move Android into the mainstream.
Although Motorola has its own Java-Linux initiative, its
interest in Android developers could indicate the company is searching for a
change of direction for its own line of struggling cell phones. While Motorola
captured almost 26 percent of the U.S. market
in the second quarter, sales
declined more than 10 percent from a year ago and opened the door for second-place
company LG Electronics to close in on Motorola at 21 percent.
Once the global No. 2 cell phone maker behind
Motorola has fallen to third and is dangerously close to tumbling to
fourth as it continues to search for a follow-up hit to its RAZR line.
With or without Android, Motorola is working on spinning off its mobile handset unit after a
protracted battle with billionaire investor Carl Icahn, the company's single
largest shareholder, who wants Motorola to get out of the cell phone device
business. After Icahn unsuccessfully attempted to gain a seat on the Motorola
board in 2007, the company avoided a proxy fight this year by agreeing to seat two
Icahn associates on the board and to seek input from Icahn about the future of
Motorola's Mobile Phone division.
In August, Motorola appointed former Qualcomm Chief
Operating Officer Sanjay Jha as co-CEO of
the company and CEO of Motorola's Mobile Devices
division. Jha will serve as co-CEO with
current CEO Greg Brown. Brown was also named
CEO of Motorola's Broadband Mobility
Solutions unit, which consists of the Home & Networks Mobility and
Enterprise Mobility Solutions businesses. Brown and Jha will share
responsibility for Motorola as it moves toward separating into two independent,
publicly traded companies.