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

by: Bogdan PetrovanFebruary 13, 2014
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:

[quote qtext=”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. ” qperson=”” qsource=”” qposition=”center”]

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.

  • Luka Mlinar

    Celebrate good times, come on!
    On the other hand… RIP Dropbox :(

    • MasterMuffin

      RIP? Why?

      • Luka Mlinar

        In one years time Woodside made one of the largest and well know mobile manufacturers worth less than a few years old company that makes thermostats. The name alone should be worth what Lenovo payed for it. And yes, of course i am factoring in patents. Woodside came to Motorola as if it was his personal playground. Bringing in people (Regina) who had no experience in such high positions and in retrospect shouldn’t have gotten the job. He toyed around with ideas that should be side project for company’s that are doing well and turned them into main projects at a company that needed to rebuild it’s brand from the ground up. he did just about everything except try to turn a profit. If he pulls this sh** in any other company; it can only end one way.

        • MasterMuffin

          Ok I don’t agree :)

        • thartist

          ow, i see… Interesting. But adding to that, he made two incredible devices. I read Moto’s strategy as “One for redesigning the high-end and making money, and one for re-awaking the mind/market share.”

          It was nonetheless a pity that the supposedly moneymaking device was released at such a high price that it broke the whole strategy, thus, pretty much the whole thing failed.

          • Luka Mlinar

            Agreed. The world instantly came together to point out that the 630$ price tag of the Moto X was ludicrous. But here’s the interesting thing about the Moto X. People say it solely failed because of it’s high price tag and stating how the phone was innovative. You can’t say something is innovative just because you read what kind of features it had. I personally think that that phone wouldn’t make it even if the starting price was 399 off contract. I mean hell, the iPhone cost’s 1800$ here in Croatia and people buy it.
            That phone sacrificed so much, so it could utilize a feature that no one uses. We are surrounded with device that work by voice control (TV, Phone, Search engines, Car…) yet we use a friction of them, if any. It had a crap camera. Optimized OS build was good but it had no personalized add ons. Only good phone that came out of Motorola was the G but this is something you aether start with and build around it or do when your company is profitable. Dennis had some sweet ideas, but he had a ton of stupid ones that trumped them.

        • VicNardozza

          100% on the button with your analysis. Woodside is a fraud. I can’t believe all the accolades he gets.

    • trwb

      RIP Motorola. I don’t want any garbage that Lenovo makes.

      • On a Clear Day

        If you can’t break into the America market as a Chinese company in the open, “What do you do, what do you do”? (Channel Karl Malden now; for those who don’t know who he was – Google Karl Malden and American Express ads.)

        Well, what you do is sneak in through the back door; buy an “American” company and use it as your front; cater to a feckless politician’s self-serving hype of “we’re bringing jobs back to America” (and are willing to turn a blind eye to the aspirations of the Communist Chinese to get another toe hold in America).

        Beijing and its minions may duplicitous as duplicitous can be – but nobody will ever say they are dumb. That is a quality most akin to and associated with the leader(s) of America at this point in space and time.

      • Farid Saba Henry

        WTF ? Lenovo doesnt make gargabe, of anything they are among the most reliable products, alongside ASUS and maybe Acer…

        • trwb

          Asus and Acer reliable? Thinkpads are complete junk.

  • Anton Pavel

    Goodbye Woodside. Motorola is better off without you. Lenovo can now appoint their own guy and I think that’s wonderful for the company. The prospects look exciting. Hope Lenovo can capitalize on Motorola. Moto G is a gem, please do not take it out of the market. “Don’t fix what’s not broken”…

    • Luka Mlinar

      F’in A! ;)

  • VicNardozza

    So Woodside came to Moto and:

    1) Laid off a lot of people including engineers who actually invented the cell phone.
    2) Lost 1 billion a year in operating expenses.
    3) Sold fewer phones and had less sales then the already spiraling business was experiencing before he got there.
    4) Runs down an American icon company so far down to the point where a Chinese company can buy it for 25 cents on the dollar.
    5) Jumps ship like a rat before the ink is even dry on the Lenovo contract for a lower level position.

    And this is the valuable experience Dropbox is paying for?

    • VicNardozza

      Forgot to mention that he dupes consumers on the whole Made In The USA theme, then sells Moto to someone who will now make the phones in China.

    • Luka Mlinar

      Fist one had to do with making a factory in the US which i understand had less workers than most factory’s (machine operated) yet cost 8 dollars (if i remember correct) more per phone than if it was made in China. Got 0 back on the “made in the US” factor. That was just plain stupidity right there :D
      Spent 1 billion on advertising in a market that he couldn’t take even if he had 20 billion to spend. In the mean time Europe was open and China was there for the taking. OPPO was turning a profit in Europe with 0 advertizin. Literal zero.
      The #4 part pisses me off the most.
      #5 can’t really know what happened. If i have taken over Motorola, first thing i would do is fire his ass. Or maybe he knew it was coming and jumped ship.
      I really don’t understand what the guys at Dropbox wore thinking. I wouldn’t hire Dennis to manage a McDonalds after the Motorola fiasco.