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President of Motorola counters Jony Ive's criticism of Moto Maker

In a recent interview, Apple's Senior Vice President of Design criticized Motorola's Moto Maker program. Rick Osterloh, President of Motorola, caught wind of this interview and fired back, calling Apple's prices "outrageous."

Published onFebruary 18, 2015


In a recent interview, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design, Jony Ive, criticized Motorola’s Moto Maker program. Now, Ive didn’t exactly use the name Moto Maker, but he did elude to the program and asked for the company name to remain private in his interview. Specifically, Ive told the New Yorker magazine:

Their value proposition was, ‘Make it whatever you want’. You can choose whatever colour you want. And I believe that’s abdicating your responsibility as a designer.

Rick Osterloh, President of Motorola, caught wind of this interview and fired back:

Our belief is that the end user should be directly involved in the process of designing products. We’re making the entire product line accessible. And frankly, we’re taking a directly opposite approach to them [Apple].

Osterloh continues, this time commenting on Apple’s pricing and availability structure:

We do see a real dichotomy in this marketplace, where you’ve got people like Apple making so much money and charging such outrageous prices. We think that’s not the future. We believe the future is in offering similar experiences and great consumer choice at accessible prices. The mobile phone industry’s greatest failure is also its greatest opportunity: to make really good, affordable devices for people who don’t want to spend a lot of money. A great smartphone, and a great mobile internet experience, shouldn’t be an expensive luxury. It should be a simple choice for everyone.

Motorola offers thousands of different color, inscription, and boot animation variations on their Moto X handsets through the Moto Maker platform. And while Apple only offers a few different color choices and two different sizes for their most recent handset, the companies may not be too far off from one another. It should be noted that while their latest handset isn’t customizable at all, the new Apple Watch is set to launch with three different watch variations, multiple different sizes and numerous watch strap options.

And when it comes to pricing, obviously there’s a big difference in the way Motorola and Apple operate. But one thing is for certain: Apple’s pricing structure is working to their advantage, since the company just posted their largest profit in history. Even so, we still wouldn’t mind if the majority of companies adopted Motorola’s business structure – offering relatively affordable, customizable handsets – while not skimping on the premium features.

What’s your take on the exchange between Osterloh and Ive?