Last month Motorola Mobility and parent company Lenovo launched its 2015 flagship phone the Moto X Pure Edition to rave reviews and unprecedented hype. The Moto X Pure Edition is poised to take the Moto X brand from a critic favorite to an all around hit. With a sleek new look, updated camera, the ability to work on all networks out of the box, all while being under $400 things at Motorola were looking up. Well hardly two weeks later for 500 employees at Motorola’s Chicago Merchandise Mart headquarters that dream has come to an end. Those 500 people which equals about 25% of the workforce got pink slips in a big shakeup for Lenovo.
A cut of some kind was thought to be coming after Motorola experienced a 31% drop off in phone sales compared to this time a year ago. It was said the cuts would only be about 10% of the workforce. So a move of this magnitude has the company and the city of Chicago shaken and worried about the future of Motorola in the city. Will Moss a company spokesman tried to put out the flames with some statements on Motorola’s future in Chicago. “We will maintain a substantial employee base there, as well as our labs and design facilities,” Will Moss said. When speaking of the nature of the cuts Mr. Moss had this to say; “It’s across all functions, affecting all departments. Chicago is not as badly impacted as some of our other sites. There’s nothing specific we can announce,” Moss said. “The Merchandise Mart continues to be our headquarters and will still be the hub for global R&D and home for our labs. We’ll continue to be there.” Mr. Moss said.
Motorola was sold by Google to Lenovo for $2.9 billion last year and quickly moved its headquarters to the Merchandise Mart in April of that year following a plan previously laid out by Google. Motorola Mobility Chief Executive Dennis Woodside had this to say while speaking to the Chicago Tribune before the move last year, before leaving the company for Dropbox. “We think we can create a place where the best and brightest, whether they are already working (in the) industry or coming out of school, and who want to work in technology and who are from the Midwest, can go and have a career and create a product that millions of people can use.” It’s amazing what one year of poor sales can do and how it can affect some many people. After the cuts, Lenovo released a statement saying despite this setback it was going to rely on Motorola “to design, develop and manufacture smartphone products.” That statement alone makes the Moto X Pure Edition a make or break phone for a lot of employees in Chicago. For them sadly the clock is already ticking.