Motorola's Brown reflects on Razr blunders

In a new interview, Motorloa co-CEO Greg Brown pondered the handset maker's missteps in the wake of the success of its Razr phone. The once high-flying company--which scored massive gains with its super-slim Razr--has since tumbled from the spotlight amid plummeting financials and market share.

"I think success is one of the biggest impediments to growth. It can be blinding," Brown said in an interview with BusinessWeek on whether the success of the Razr contributed to hubris at the company. "It can reinforce a historical or traditional way of doing things."

Although Brown no longer oversees the company's cell phone business--that responsibility falls to co-CEO Sanjay Jha--he admitted that in the past Motorola's priorities were wrong. "We should have been more in tune with the customer experience instead of focusing on form factors," he said. "We didn't adapt with the right level of speed and customer input to where the puck was going."

Brown joined Motorola in 2003, and served as COO under former CEO Ed Zander before becoming CEO on Jan. 1, 2008, following Zander's ouster. The company is now pinning its cell phone hopes on Google's Android platform, and plans to launch Android handsets with carriers across the world later this year.  

Motorola posted a $231 million net loss in the first quarter, and sales were down 28 percent from the same quarter a year ago. The handset division's operating loss narrowed on a sequential basis to $509 million, down from $595 million in the fourth quarter of 2008, but still wider than an operating loss of $418 million in the year-ago quarter.

For more:
- see this BusinessWeek article

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