As Dennis Woodside leaves for Dropbox, Lenovo is optimistic about Motorola’s prospects

February 13, 2014
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Motorola X Phone

Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside

Motorola’s CEO Dennis Woodside is taking a job at Dropbox. Meanwhile, Lenovo’s CEO says he is positive he can turn Motorola to profit within a few quarters.

Dennis Woodside led Motorola for less than two years, after an eight-year stint at Google, where he was in charge of advertising sales in the Americas, one of Google’s main cash cows. During his tenure at Motorola, Woodside was not able to turn it to profit, with the company incurring over a billion in losses in 2013. However, the executive oversaw the release of the successful Moto X and Moto G, streamlined the company, focused its product range, and managed to improve the public’s perception of Motorola.

Now the Wall Street Journal reports that Woodside is going to become the Chief Operating Officer of Dropbox. There’s no announcement so far, but Google confirmed the move: “Dennis and the team have reinvented Motorola, with wonderful products like Moto X and Moto G. I wish him all the best with his new big job at Dropbox,” said Larry Page.

Woodside’s departure comes relatively soon after Google announced it would sell Motorola to Lenovo, as part of a $2.91 billion deal. The sale is pending regulatory approval.

At Dropbox, Dennis Woodside will probably lead the cloud storage company’s expansion into business services. For a private company with about 500 employees, the arrival of such a high-caliber executive is a major win.

Lenovo CEO: we can turn Motorola around quickly

Motorola is still a part of Google, but Lenovo is already talking about its plans for the storied company. In a Bloomberg interview, CEO Yang Yuanqing didn’t foresee long-term losses for Motorola. “In a few quarters we can turn around the business,” the executive said.

Motorola recorded losses of $384 million in the last quarter of 2013, despite the growing availability of the Moto X and the launch of the Moto G.

One way Lenovo plans to take advantage of the strong Motorola brand is to reintroduce the company’s devices in China and other emerging markets. Under Google, Motorola gave up its presence in many emerging markets, in order to cut costs. Now Yang believes Motorola will help Lenovo expand its market share in all segments:

We will relaunch and reintroduce the Motorola brand back to China and other emerging markets. We will compete in the premium market, but this is not enough, we will also compete in the entry level.

Lenovo, known primarily for its world-leading PC business, is aggressively expanding in the smartphone segment. With an initial focus on China and developing markets, the company intends to tackle more competitive markets with devices like the Vibe Z, its first LTE smartphone. As for Motorola’s current products, Yang Yuanqing said in the past that he doesn’t want to fix what’s not broken, suggesting that Lenovo may keep Motorola’s focus on customization, software optimization, and affordable devices, at least in North America.

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