Mobile
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2/23/2010
04:58 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
Commentary
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Motorola May No Longer Call Chicago Home

As part of its reorganizational efforts, Motorola indicated that it might pick up and move its handset and home businesses to California. Why? Because apparently Motorola thinks the talent pool in Chicago is tapped out.

As part of its reorganizational efforts, Motorola indicated that it might pick up and move its handset and home businesses to California. Why? Because apparently Motorola thinks the talent pool in Chicago is tapped out.Motorola hopes to split itself into two separate companies by early 2011. It's going to achieve that by spinning off its mobile handset and cable box division into one entity and its enterprise computing division into another. During a recent call, mobile handset CEO Sanjay Jha dropped a bit of a bomb shell. He said that the company might relocate to California.

Motorola has been headquartered in Chicago since Paul and Joseph Galvin founded the company in 1928.

He was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying, "We'll go where that talent is, and right now, that looks like California." In other words, Motorola's handset leader thinks that it's done all it can with the talent pool in the greater Chicago area. Jha -- who came to Motorola from San Diego-based Qualcomm -- thinks that California could possibly offer something more to the firm.

Jha noted that the company would maintain some presence in Chicago. Only about 10,000 of its 53,000 worldwide employees are located in Chicago. It already has locations in Silicon Valley, San Diego and other locations abroad. But for the company to pick up and move most of its handset division away from Chicago would certainly cause some employment shock to the Windy City. Motorola has laid off thousands of workers in recent years, many of whom worked for the mobile handset division.

I am sure the city of Chicago is already considering tax incentives to convince Motorola to stay. As bad as the move might be for Chicago, perhaps a clean break and fresh start is exactly what the Motorola needs to complete its turn-around.

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