Posts Tagged ‘Sanjay Jha’

Behind the Droid Lauch: A New Motorola?

October 28, 2009

Who was the big winner of today’s much-hyped Droid launch?

Sure, the warm reception that the new Android-based smartphone is receiving is a big win for all of the parties involved: Verizon Wireless, Motorola and Android-maker Google. (Personally, I was impressed by the phone, and thought it represented a nice package of features, design and functionality.)

And the stock market seemed to agree. Today, Verizon’s stock was up nearly 3% and Motorola’s stock was up 1%, while the Nasdaq tanked nearly 3%. Google fell about 1.5%. And Apple took a hit, falling 2.5%.

[Verizon Wireless Chief Marketing Officer John Stratton and Motorola co-chief executive Sanjay Jha hold up the new Droid cell phone.]

But I’d venture to say that Motorola was the big winner, if only because the company was in such desperate need of a win. After all, the cell phone biz is a hits-based business. A best-selling product can reverse a company’s fortunes quickly, as Motorola has seen first with its popular StarTAC, and then with the Razr line of devices.

Since Motorola has bet the farm on Android, technologists and investors would have lost a whole lot more confidence in the company’s ability to manage a turnaround if it blew this launch. There was so much at stake with Droid that they had to nail it, or come close to nailing it.

At today’s unveiling at the W Hotel in New York City, Verizon Wireless Chief Marketing Officer John Stratton went out of his way to pump up the fallen icon. “This is a new Motorola,” said Stratton. “We took a chance, some would say a big risk at this early stage in their turnaround. But I am delighted at the level and quality of work. We will continue to work with Motorola.”

Motorola co-chief executive Sanjay Jha, who seemed nervous at first, grew more comfortable as the event wore on and the media got their hands on the devices. Next year, Jha said Motorola would release at least 20 Android-based handsets. The strategy, he said, is to offer more smartphones for the lower end of the market, as well as selling more devices around the world. “Android is evolving faster than any other platform,” said Jha.

For now, though, Jha was all about the Droid, claiming it was the world’s best current smartphone.

Stratton agreed wit Jha’s assessment, arguing that the Droid could “compete head to head” with the Apple iPhone. But he acknowledged that consumers would be the ultimate judge. “The market will tell us how well we did,” said Stratton.


Continuing Doubts About Motorola’s Turnaround

October 31, 2008

Poor Motorola. During an Oct. 30 conference call discussing the third-quarter results that included falling sales and a wider loss, Motorola’s new co-CEO Sanjay Jha outlined plans to reduce costs, streamline the way the company makes products, and delay a spin-off of the handset business.

But investors understandably aren’t that impressed. As I’ve said before, spinning off Motorola’s handset division will not help solve their problems–and it may even exacerbate them. Now, the company seems to be waking up to that fact.

My colleagues Olga Kharif and Roger Crockett wrote a story today focusing on Motorola’s continuing–and worsening–problems. 

“Motorola’s market share is likely to keep falling in the coming year, say analysts including Matt Thornton of Avian Securities and Ken Hyers of Technology Business Research. Thornton says the company’s share could dip to as low as 6% next year.”

Bottom line: Until Motorola rolls out some innovative new products that connect with consumers like Apple and Research In Motion have done, the company is destined for a long and slow decline.

Can Sanjay Jha Turn Around Motorola?

August 5, 2008

My colleagues Roger Crockett and Olga Kharif published an interesting story handicapping Motorola’s new CEO, Sanjay Jha, the former chief operating officer of Qualcomm.

Roger and Olga say that Jha’s biggest most important task is dismantling the mobile-phone unit’s bureaucratic culture. I think that is incredibly important, too. But perhaps a more critical goal is to be a strong leader who can articulate a vision for the company and attract a new crew of talented executives. Because let’s face it, Motorola’s executive ranks have been decimated over the last few years, much like Yahoo! has seen an stock-crushing brain drain.

Jha can’t save Moto by himself, as Roger and Olga note lower down in their story. He needs more experienced and smart folks like himself. I’d keep a close on Moto over the next few months to see if Jha can lure some new hotshots back to Motorola. If so, that will be a very good sign that Jha has a fighting chance to breathe life back into this American icon.