Motorola in Trouble

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Case Details:


Case Code : BSTR267 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 300;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 300 + Shipping & Handling Charges extra


Business Strategy
Case Length : 16 pages
Period : 2004-2007
Pub Date : 2007
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Motorola
Industry : Consumer Electronics
Countries : US


Motorola was the pioneer of mobile phones, and was the top cellular phone company in the world until the late 1990s, when it was overtaken by Nokia. This case discusses some of problems that Motorola faced in 2006-2007, after it failed to follow-up the success of its iconic phone model, the Razr, and was quickly overtaken by competitors who launched innovative products to capture market share. Motorola slashed the prices of most of its phone models in late 2006 to recapture some of the lost market share, drastically affecting its margins in return. In early 2007, Motorola announced that it would make an effort to revive its financial performance and not go behind market share alone.

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It also embarked on a business reorganization to better align its operations with its customers and markets. However, it was widely believed that what the company needed was a path breaking new product to pull it out of difficulties. But as of mid 2007, Motorola had no products that looked likely to replicate the Razr's success. In addition to this, CEO Ed Zander was losing much of the credibility he had earned in 2004-2005, during his early years at the company, and speculation was rife that Motorola's board might consider replacing him in the near future.


The teaching objectives of this case are:

To appreciate the importance of innovation in a dynamic environment like the mobile phone industry.

To examine the reasons for the troubles facing a leading mobile phone company in the world.

To understand the risks in depending too much on a single successful product.

This case is meant for MBA/PGDBM students, and is designed to be a part of their Strategy and Business Management curriculum.


  Page No.
Motorola's Second Quarter Disappointment 1
Background 2
The Zander Era 5
The Journey Downhill 7
Revival Efforts 10
Zander's Troubles 11
Outlook 11
Exhibits 13


Motorola, Ed Zander, Chris Galvin, Mobile phones, Razr, Nokia Corp., Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Restructuring, Apple Inc., Cellular phone industry

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