January is deja vu for Motorola

I feel like this is a re-run. The last two years in January, I've written about Motorola and its failure to follow up on the success of the Razr. In early 2006, investors were waiting for the other shoe to drop. It did.

Last year's column talked about the fact that Motorola didn't have too much up its sleeve in terms of innovative designs for 2007. Then CEO Ed Zander during last year's Consumer Electronics Show touted the company's strategy to provide "cool experiences" anywhere and anytime. But no new innovative phones. We saw where that got Zander. He resigned last month.

Now newly appointed CEO Greg Brown could be facing the same future in 2008. It doesn't appear that his company has anything ground breaking to announce at this week's CES that opens today. On Friday, Motorola's stock fell about 6 percent after Citibank analyst Jim Suva downgraded the company, saying its "lack of compelling new products" likely means the Christmas selling season was not a happy one for Motorola.

Brown has a tall order. He has to show the market that Motorola can once again revolutionize the industry with a new handset design. That's no easy feat. These accomplishments are always few and far between for any handset manufacturer. Nokia and Samsung are working overtime to beat Motorola down.

The question is, how much time does Brown have before Carl Icahn and company rattle the cage again? -Lynnette


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