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Rumors abound that Motorola is laying off half its Chicago workforce (Update: layoffs confirmed)

Rumors of a huge layoff at Motorola Mobility were confirmed today by a Lenovo/Motorola representative. However, the size of the layoff is still in question.

Published onMarch 9, 2018


UPDATE 03/09/2018, 12:55 P.M. EST: Android Authority received a statement from a Motorola/Lenovo representative about these layoff allegations:

In late 2017, Lenovo announced a worldwide resource action that would occur over the next several quarters, and impacting less than two percent of its global workforce. This week’s employment reductions are a continuation of that process. We are reducing our Motorola operations in Chicago however this did not impact half of our workforce there and our Moto Z family will continue.

It appears that yes, a layoff at the Chicago Motorola Mobility office occurred. The statement’s wording of “this did not impact half of our workforce there” is a bit confusing. Does this mean Motorola is refuting the claim it laid off 50 percent of its workforce, or is it saying 50 percent of the workforce was unaffected and it did layoff half its workforce? It’s a confusing way to word a statement in either case. We’ve reached out for further clarification and will further update this story when we hear.

Still, it is good to know the Moto Z family of smartphones will continue and the Moto Mod mentioned below will likely make it to backers.

Original Article: It’s no secret that Motorola hasn’t been doing too well since Lenovo took over the legendary smartphone brand. While it’s great that the Moto Z line earned some good reviews and the company forged new territory with its line of Moto Mods (combined with Motorola boasting a lot about what’s to come in 2018), you don’t have to search too hard to find information that all is not well at Motorola/Lenovo.

Rumors are bubbling up that Motorola either has or will lay off half of its Chicago Motorola Mobility workforce. Right now, the primary source of the story is pretty flimsy, but there are corroborating rumors that make it seem legit.

The main source is a post on where an anonymous user with the moniker “Ex-Motorolan” gives news on the huge purge of employees:

Motorola Mobility (Lenovo) just tapped 50% of their Chicago workforce on the shoulder to let them know they are being laid off. Their expected last day of work is April 6, 2018. Sad… and to think this was my dream job getting out of college.
Lenovo teases Motorola Razr comeback... again
motorola razr v3

There is no proof provided of the layoffs, so it’s hard to take this anonymous information very seriously. However, it is not too hard to fathom it being true when there are plenty of reports that Lenovo and Motorola are in some serious hot water when it comes to selling smartphones.

The allegations of “Ex-Motorolan” are further supported by some posts from an Indiegogo campaign. Liangchen Chen crowdfunded over $160,000 to build a Moto Mod keyboard. However, in the comments section of the campaign, Mr. Chen implies that he has been made aware of the layoffs due to his connection with Motorola’s Moto Mod team:

Mr. Chen is concerned about the future of his Moto Mod keyboard. If he cannot get an official license from Motorola as well as access to the OTA server in the Moto Mod department, his keyboard will not work with any current or future Motorola phones. He later says that if he can work out the OTA update situation, his Mod will at least work on current Moto Mod-compatible devices.

If you combine what Mr. Chen says with the anonymous post from “Ex-Motorolan,” it gives some serious credibility to the claim that there was a massive layoff at Motorola that hasn’t yet been officially announced.

We can only assume that in the next few days either more allegations of the layoffs will surface or Motorola/Lenovo will make an official statement. What these layoffs would mean for the future of Motorola, the line of Moto Z phones, and the upcoming Moto G6, Moto 5, and Moto Z3, is unknown.

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