back to article Ticked-off former Motorola 'insider' gives his two cents

An individual claiming to be a former advisor to deceased Motorola CMO Geoffrey Frost has attacked the mobe giant's management, accusing them of missed opportunities and closed minds. A letter attributed to a Numair Faraz, published by Engadget, lays into both existing and outgoing management. Faraz claims responsibility for the …

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Flame

Don't get me going...

My experience of Motorola senior management, from Chris Galvin era through to Zander and Brown... Obsessed with shareholders and clueless about software. Whilst working there I wrote constantly about the need to focus on technology and stop the constant trimming and search for short-term gains outsourcing here and consolidating there. They had all the amazing technology and research at their disposal. All they needed was 5 good phones and a 5-year plan for each. Make sure that each incarnation built on the last, not this stupid situation you have today where model Y re-introduces bugs previously ironed out in model X and then model Z comes along with a worse camera and no connectivity. What a great company this could have been, but instead they slashed their experts, alienated their customers and in the end totally narked the people they were trying to please - the shareholders. Tut. Told you so!

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Happy

Classic ...

"As I told the company's senior designers at Motorola's 75th anniversary meeting: create something cooler (and more expensive) than anything else out there, and everyone will want it."

They must have loved that advise. Create something people want to buy and they'll buy it? Thanks boss. We'll get right onto that. Good thing you're around to keep us right.

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Dead Vulture

RE: Don't get me going

Unfortunately, this is the way ALL large companies are going. Long term business plans have gone out of the window to please the shareholders who are only interested in this years profits. R&D is disappearing as it costs money, quality staff are no longer needed as too expensive, quality products are no longer important as you want the consumer to buy the next pile of crap in 12 months time so why bother building something that lasts? Long gone are the days when management realised that it was the staff that made the company profitable and looked after them providing a career for life - everyone is now disposable just like the products

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Thumb Down

Android???

So, lets get this straight, after taking a punt on every mobile platform under the sun (twice in one case) in recent years what Motorola really needs is Yet Another Software Platform...

Hmm...

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Paris Hilton

Those were the golden days ...

Having been an intern at Moto at one time, I can vouch for the sheer brilliance of R&D that I've seen was going on at that time. In a short clip that was released to insiders, I've seen researchers demonstrate things ( can't reveal what they are though ) which no phone in the market has even after 3 years. Blast the iPhone, them boffins had some cooler things in place. No doubt the top level management turds have bled Moto dry. Try reading the blog of a Cisco employee on the former CTO Padmasree Warrior, it might give you an insight on those pompous fatheads. Rarely have I seen more Dilbertish (for lack of a better word) management.

Paris, coz even she can strike the iron while it is hot !!!

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IT Angle

^^ Yep

I completely agree with the poster above. I've seen one of the world's largest music companies utterly fail to grasp the concept that downloading songs = easy profit.

I currently work in a massive technology company that was founded on keeping employees happy and they'll do great work for the company.

Now it's INVEST IN OUR COMPANY BECAUSE I'M TELLING YOU IT'S GOOD!

They slash every department to the bone to lower operating costs, which makes investors go all fluttery in the pants and buy up more shares.

Then when the management leave/get tossed out in 2-4 years, the skeleton departments that are left, have to be rebuilt at an ungodly cost.

It's sad that the board of directors aren't gifted with a little more forethought that just, "must hit this years financials!!"

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RE: RE: Don't get me going

"Long term business plans have gone out of the window to please the shareholders who are only interested in this years profits."

<python>

A whole year ? You were _lucky_, in my day we only concentrated on the quarterly results, _and_ we billed out in 15 minute increments.

</python>

"Long gone are the days when management realised that it was the staff that made the company profitable and looked after them ..."

And yet those same companies put so much time and effort (well, OK, paper) into getting Investor In People certified.

I'd laugh, if it wasn't so depressing.

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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Quality.

It is unfortunate that this is very often something which cannot be displayed on charts or excel spreadsheets.

A good example is call centres, there is no way to measure the quality of a call, wether the customer is happy, wether the issue was satisfactorily resolved. The only thing that can be easily measured is the number of calls in a set time period (usually one day) this means the quality of the calls goes down as the customer is often told "Just do this and ring back it there's a problem" just to get them off the phone and push the fake call "Statistics" up.

When reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance I found some solace in the idea that Quality was what every human being was striving for and that if we took the time to measure the Quality of things then the world might be a better place.

Unfortunately AC above is correct, so many large companies are not concerned with Quality of product or service and only see the fast buck as the one that matters.

The wonderful consumerist society triumphs again....

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Paris Hilton

It's not just technology companies

I used to work in IT for a large automotive company which I won't name but which just sold blighty-faves Jaguar and Land Rover to India. Obsession with cost-cutting, stock prices and bringing in "fresh ideas" from totally unrelated industries, not to mention excessive executive compensation for the executives, have damn near driven the company titsup. It's that way throughout American business, and likely business in the UK as well.

Paris, 'cause she's as obsessed with fame as the CEO's are with bonuses and is as equally likely to do anything to get it.

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Unhappy

Even when they try they get it wrong

Called the benefits 800 number of a large US telco yesterday. After the call there was a short automated survey, all about the behavior of the 'representative' (who actually was very nice) lousy with management claptrap like 'sense of urgency', and nothing I can recall about whether or not I was actually served. At the end was an opportunity to record a comment. I was cut off mid-sentence after no more than 10 seconds.

My remarks were complimentary to the representative. Any momentary positive feelings about V****** (oops) benefits operation I had were instantly vaporized (again).

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@Wile E. Veteran

Jaguar has been bought by an Indian company called Tata, not sold to "india", as a country. Tata is a well established and well known company in many areas. Give them a chance before turning up your nose.

Also, many Indian "jobs" were lost due to the British flooding the Indian market with cheap products. This was quite some time back though.......

The shoe does pinch eh?

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Hard to imagine?

"It's hard to imagine how the management at Motorola could be deaf to every employee screaming at them to get a decent software strategy, but such things are possible."

Where the hell have you been working?

That sounds like every large company I've ever been with.

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Anonymous Coward

Terminal 5

Perhaps we should call it Terminal 5 management?

Its certainly likely to be terminal. But that won't matter to the people who lined their pockets.

I blame Mrs T, the Mad Cow Queen.

Quick Buck... that's all that matters.

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Anonymous Coward

@V.Srikrishnan

Yes but British products used to be the envy of the world because of their quality until industry was shafted by successive governments. Same cannot be said about cheap crappy poor quality indian 'products'

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Joke

@ Michael C

Lemme guess, you're at HP? :P

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Silver badge

RE: Don't get me going

The quarter-by-quarter thinking that most companies (in the USA at least) work by is largely killing them.

Development of any significant product, or new set of products, takes well over a year and does not generate any revenue during the quarters that the expenses happen. This makes it look very unpleasant from the quarter-by-quarter mindset.

Of course there is a perfectly good way to address the problem: show the ongoing development as an asset that grows in value during the development. That way the business unit is still being profitable even if revenue is not forthcoming. The only downside to this is that it increases tax. However, that tax would have had to be paid anyway - when the new product is actually sold.

Quarter-by-quarter thinking will always favour actions that have a short-term payoff, even if they have far less long-term payoff. eg. Advertising, discount programs etc.

Development-as-expense is a neat bit of trickery to delay tax ppayment. Unfortunately is also means that the books make it very unappealing to do development at all.

Companies are directed through their books. Unless the book-keeping measures are aligned with health behaviour, important functions (eg. development) will get squashed.

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IT Angle

Enter Zandman

"Ed Zander, the then CEO of the company, whom Faraz accuses of working Frost to death in 2005 while worrying more about golf scores than company profitability."

Well no surprise there! While he was No. 2 at Sun Microsystems he never listened to anyone either, except the Wall Street analysts whose arses he always seemed to be crawling up and asking "how many people would you like us to RIF this Christmas to keep the shareholders happy?".

And as for the golf, well he learnt from the best! The then-CEO of Sun Scott McNealy could hardly ever get his damned backside off the links and into his office......I saw him for 35 minutes once in 8 years in all his European visits.

(on the other hand, if only they could have shut Jonathan 'Soapbox' Schwartz up now and again......)

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Unhappy

Quaterly results, strategic decisions and leadership

Long term strategic decisions require executives with vision and leadership. Ultimately somebody has to put their arse on the line and lead the company through a series of poor quarterly results until the long term strategy bears fruit.

This involves risk for the company and for the career prospects of the executives involved. It's much easier for everyone to coast along avoiding risk making short term decisions based upon quarterly results.

PS. I have always found the user interface of Motorola phones to be awkward. I never understood why it took so many steps to do anything on most of them.

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Jobs Halo

Bean counters at the top

I think the problem stems from having people at the top who are motiviated purely by money, plus a reward system, built around share options and performance related bonuses, that actively encourages shorttermism.

Whatever you think of the iPhone, I think it clear that Jobs is motivated by more than money - he obviously has some emotional investment in producing stuff he thinks is cool.

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Boffin

Hector Ruiz To The Rescue?

NOT!

He's the main individual that bought Motorola to their knees! Yep, Chris Galvin is an idiot brat that screwed up, but look at Hector's track record at AMD / Spansion, LLC.

Go figure!

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