Google-Motorola Confusion

I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to find any indication of how the Moto G, the low-cost smartphone from Motorola is selling. I’m interested in how well their strategy, that is selling mid-spec smartphones at low-end prices by foregoing profits, is working. I strongly suspect that it is not, but I need data to verify that.

In the meantime, I found this funny article by Rolfe Winker for the Wall Street Journal. It describes very well the almost comical confusion and utter lack of coherent strategy at Google-Motorola. I’ve quoted some parts of it below.

The price cut on the Moto X extends a strategy laid out by Motorola Chief Executive Dennis Woodside to undercut rivals. Motorola’s lower-end Moto G phone, released in November, starts at $179 without a contract in the U.S., compared with $250 for a comparable Samsung device at Verizon. VZ -0.48%

OK. So the strategy is to undercut rivals on price.

Analysts say that low off-contract pricing is likely to have a bigger impact outside the U.S., where a larger share of smartphone users buy their phones directly, rather than by signing wireless contracts.

Now such a strategy will work best outside of the U.S. It won’t make much difference in the U.S.

The Moto X is sold only in North and South America, and the new lower price is only available in the U.S. for now.

Uh oh. But the lower price is only going to be available for the U.S.


In the last part of this article, there is a quote from an analyst;

Brand, distribution and product breadth are critical to sales volumes, and here Moto falls desperately behind [Samsung] still.

If this is true and I suspect that it is, we can also expect the sales of the Moto G to also be rather insignificant, adding to the long list of Google branded products that saw major hype, but failed to sell well.

2 thoughts on “Google-Motorola Confusion”

  1. I think Google’s intention for “Moto G” is that they would like to make a Android phone which has latest soft with minimal hardware. Then many Chinese company rip off ( make copy ) latest android phone much cheep price with google’s latest soft and sell them at emerging market. Because Google does not want many to sell Android hardware but they want gain more people who use latest Android’s google soft so that they could get many people to access google cloud and getting more info from them. They will collect more info and people have to stack with their service.
    Currently so many old version of Android device are selling at emerging market (because latest soft need expensive hardware and could not sell well at there ) and Google want to change the situation then correct info from latest android software.

    After they made Moto G, Google sold Moto to Lenovo.


    1. Yes, that is definitely what Google would officially say.

      However, unless Google Nexus products or Motorola products sell well, your OEMs will not feel the pressure to build better products. On the contrary, what the historical low sales of the Nexus products prove is that building good products at low prices alone is not enough to sell well.

      So yes, as a strategy it is feasible. However, it will only work if you sell a substantial enough number so that Samsung will feel threatened. Google-Motorola products have to sell well for the strategy to succeed. This is not the case.


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