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01/24/2008

RAZR Burn

Yesterday Motorola released disappointing earnings news and saw its stock drop to 2003 levels. The precipitous declines are being blamed on weakness in the company's mobile handset portfolio and the strengthening of competitive pressure from stalwarts like Nokia and newcomers like Apple.

And yet, competitive pressures notwithstanding, it seems that Motorola is its own worst enemy. Since 2003 when the company launched the enormously successful RAZR phone, its been in a kind of paralysis. Motorola, it seems, is allergic to success.

We've seen this before from Moto. Remember the StarTAC? Motorola's innovative, and chicly diminutive, clamshell phone which won high marks for its stylish design and quickly became a high tech status symbol? As you might recall, Motorola sold a lot of StarTACs in the years following its 1996 release--so many in fact that it became incapable of imagining a post-StarTAC world.

Well, history is repeating itself. This time around Motorola has released alternatives to the RAZR, but it has RAZR'ed them all to death. Looking through the company's phone portfolio, one can't help feeling like a dyslexic kid during finals week: RAZR, ROKR, KRZR, SLVR, RIZR. Is it a product naming convention or a cruel joke? This is not to mention the vagaries of the sub-brand modifiers; V3i, V3xx 3G, Z6tv, etc.

Clearly Motorola needs to come up with some radically new phone designs if it is going to remain a serious competitor in the tough neighborhood of Apple, Nokia, Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony Ericsson. But it needs to do something else. It needs to realize the consumers are under a siege of choice. They don't have the time, energy or interest in unpacking an impenetrable, highly-coded product portfolio in order to feel assured that they are getting the product that best meets their needs.

January 24, 2008 in Product portfolios, Telecom | Permalink

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Comments

Nice post title...

Posted by: cory at Jan 25, 2008 10:23:53 AM