Motorola to cut Windows Mobile positions

Motorola is planning on cutting 77 Windows Mobile research and development positions at its facility in Plantation, Fla., fueling speculation that it is switching entirely to Google's Android platform for its future smartphones.

The handset maker, which announced earlier this month that it would cut 4,000 jobs nationwide, said the layoffs would be effective March 27 and said the employees could apply for open positions and will be provided with severance. Motorola has denied rumors that it plans on dropping Windows Mobile development. Brian Viscount, vice president of marketing for mobile enterprise computing at Motorola, said recently in an interview with that the company "remains 100 percent committed to Windows Mobile." 

Co-CEO Sanjay Jha, the head of the mobile devices business, said during the third quarter earnings report that the company would focus on Android and Windows Mobile-based handsets. He said then that the handset maker expected to have an Android phone out by the end of 2009, but did not relay any specifics on Windows Mobile-based handset, other than to say that the company would continue focusing on the platform as new versions came out.

Motorola has been in a period of uncertainty since it posted a $397 million loss in the third quarter and its handset division saw a 31 percent drop in revenue. In December, Motorola said it would freeze U.S. pension plans, stop matching company 401(k) contributions, halt most salary increases for 2009 and cut executive pay.

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