Skip to main content

    Motorola brand to cease to exist

    Smartphone manufacturer Lenovo will dump US mobile phone pioneer’s name following its acquisition two years ago, hanging up the line on a famous brand

    Goodbye Motorola. Brand name to be phased out by parent company Lenovo. Photograph: Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP/Getty Images

    Friday 8 January 2016 22.59 AEDT Last modified on Friday 8 January 2016

    Motorola, the brand which invented the mobile phone, brought us the iconic "Motorola brick", and gave us both the first flip-phone and the iconic Razr, is to cease to exist.

    motorola razr
    Even David Beckham loved the Motorola Razr. Photograph: David Guttenfelder/AP

    Bought from Google by the Chinese smartphone and laptop powerhouse Lenovo in January 2014, Motorola had found success over the past two years. It launched the Moto G in early 2014, which propelled the brand, which had all but disappeared after the Razr, from a near-0% market share to 6% of sales in the UK.

    Motorola Moto G 2015
    The latest edition of the Moto G, which relaunched Motorola in the UK. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian

    The Moto G kickstarted the reinvigoration of the brand, which saw Motorola ship more than 10m smartphones in the third quarter of 2014, up 118% year-on-year.

    But now Lenovo has announced that it will kill off the US mobile phone pioneer’s name. It will keep Moto, the part of Motorola’s product naming that has gained traction in recent years, but Moto smartphones will be branded under Lenovo.

    Motorola chief operating officer Rick Osterloh told Cnet that "we’ll slowly phase out Motorola and focus on Moto".

    The Moto line will be joined by Lenovo’s Vibe line in the low end, leaving the fate of the Moto E and G uncertain. The Motorola Mobility division of Lenovo will take over responsibility for the Chinese manufacturer’s entire smartphone range.

    A Lenovo spokesperson said: "Motorola Mobility continues to exist as a Lenovo company and is the engineering and design engine for all of our mobile products."

    motorola logo
    Motorola branding that will cease to exist on packaging, as seen on the box for the Motorola Moto G 2015 smartphone. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian

    They said that the company hadn’t used the Motorola brand specifically on its products since the Moto X in 2013, despite being used on the packaging and website branding.

    Reception of the news was mixed. Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel said: "The only segment where this might help is within the enterprise market, just because of Lenovo’s presence within computers, but even there it is not necessary."

    Motorola StarTac 7860
    The Motorola StarTac 7860 was one of the first flip phones. Photograph: Brian Hagiwara/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image

    Osterloh said that it will be a consolidation of brands to cover a larger market segment, with the Vibe handsets targeting a segment of smartphones costing $100 or less in the US.

    But for many, the loss of the Motorola brand is an end of an era showing just how far the pioneering US phone company has fallen.

    motorola rokr
    The Motorola Rokr with iTunes built in, announced on-stage by Apple’s Steve Jobs - the phone no one wanted. Photograph: Paul Sakuma/AP

    Did you own an original brick phone? A StarTac or Razr? Or maybe even the ill-fated Motorola iTunes phone, the Rokr? Tell us you favourite Motorola moments in the comments below.

    from our advertisers


    Sign in or create your Guardian account to join the discussion.

    2 3 4 7
    Loading comments… Trouble loading?
    2 3 4 7
    Reason (optional)
    Email (optional)

    Sign in or create your Guardian account to recommend a comment