Major Motorola Layoffs Make Moto Z's Fate Uncertain: Report

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Motorola is presently in the process of conducting major layoffs, according to numerous rumors that surfaced online in recent days. Some sources are estimating the layoffs are encompassing between 20- and 50-percent of the firm’s workforce in its home city of Chicago, though it’s understood that the exact scope of the move still hasn’t been disclosed by the management, not even to Motorola’s own employees. Creator of the Keyboard Moto Mod Liangchen Chen took to the comments section of his startup’s Indiegogo campaign to say the development is likely to affect the release of the upcoming accessory as Motorola’s team working on certifying the device is now largely gone, though the module is still expected to be commercialized this year.

Mr. Chen described the development as “shocking” earlier this week while responding to one question from an Indiegogo backer but said he still isn’t able to talk openly about the matter and isn’t fully informed about recent developments. “We will probably witness a [sic] history,” Mr. Chen said, prompting some speculation that Lenovo may be looking to offload Motorola this year. The issues raise a lot of uncertainty regarding the future of the Moto Z lineup, the company’s only product family compatible with Moto Mods. The last addition to the series came in the form of the Moto Z2 Force released last August, with the smartphone getting a mixed reception from both critics and consumers alike, many of whom disapproved of its arguably outdated design and easily scratchable screen.

The Lenovo-owned original equipment manufacturer also surprised industry watchers by failing to announce a single new device at the latest iteration of Mobile World Congress, the mobile industry’s largest annual trade show which took place in late February. Motorola had a massive presence at MWC 2017 and the Moto G6 lineup has already been the subject of numerous leaks in recent months, yet the firm hasn’t returned to Barcelona in a significant capacity and is still without a new smartphone in 2018. If recent reports about major U.S. layoffs are accurate, Motorola may be refocusing its efforts on India and other developing markets where its entry-level and mid-range devices are still understood to be fairly competitive, even if such product categories come with thin profit margins. The Chicago employees that are now said to be losing their jobs are expected to stay with the firm until April 6, according to one source.