Motorola, mortally wounded, is spinning off its handset business in slow motion. CEO Greg Brown expects the deal to go through next year. There's no Razr on the horizon to spur sales, thanks to former CEO Ed Zander's overreliance on the model. In San Francisco cofeeshops, the popular theory is that Apple's iPhone killed Motorola. Nonsense. Motorola killed Motorola. The population of the Bay Area is 7.2 million; despite the appearance that every man, woman, and child here now has an iPhone, Apple will be lucky to have sold that many by now.
Motorola sells 20 times that many phones in a year. No, the real problem is that Samsung has taken market share from it in the U.S., where Motorola dominates, and Nokia is killing it in the developing world. And that's entirely Motorola's fault. Fixated by the high-end smartphones popular in the U.S., Motorola didn't sell enough cheap phones elsewhere. While we debate the relative virtues of locked and unlocked iPhones, billions of people wait to make their first telephone call ever. You can only sell so many phones to The 250 — even if they keep breaking them.