/The Triumphs and Impediments of Motorola in India

The Triumphs and Impediments of Motorola in India


The US telecommunications equipment firm, Motorola, which unveiled the first mobile phone in the world was also one of the most favoured handset brand, especially in India. From 2004 till 2010 it dominated the Indian market with its most sophisticated Motorola ROKR and Razr series handsets. It was also the second largest mobile brands in India after its foremost rival Nokia. Then, slowly Samsung and Sony entered the market with top-notch camera phones. The sales of Motorola started affecting when Sony partnered with Ericsson and offered the most cutting-edge camera phones, beautifully designed and equipped with top-notch music system. The era of Smartphone appeared and both Nokia and Motorola lost its popularity in front of Samsung and Sony.

After a gap of few years, Moto again entered the Indian market with a new fortune and hope. Back in 2014, Motorola was acquired by Google and it announced a slew of new smartphones, The Moto G and the Moto X turned out to be the huge hit across the world. The Moto G smartphone was launched in India in February 2014, which also announced that it sold its manufacturing rights to Chinese computer accessories firm Lenovo. On the first day itself, over 20,000 Moto G handsets were sold via Flipkart. This immense success helped Moto to launch its second smartphone, the Moto X. While launching this device, it only got in a few variants of the back cover and not the Moto Launcher. Then, it launched its unique Moto E via a press conference in selected few countries and for the first time this device was launched in India.

Back then, the Indian mobile market was largely dominated by the domestic handset manufacturer like Micromax, which was offering the most top-notch features in a very affordable price segment. India was then bit deprived of global handset players, but Sony and HTC captured the mass in a very short span of time with low-cost handsets. Motorola was very aggressive with its pricing, which has made Moto G and Moto E one of the best sellers in India. It also partnered with the nation’s leading e-commerce platform Flipkart, which proved to be the very successful strategy. Then, within just five months it claimed to have sold more than a million smartphones in India.

The biggest disruptive strategy of Motorola is its decision to sell the devices online via Flipkart, thereby restricting their market to only 2 percent of the online smartphone market. But, when its share in the market commenced reducing, it decided to completely capture the Flipkart’s online smartphone share. This strategy ultimately turned out to be its barrier as it opened the door of opportunity for the Chinese brands to sell their devices online. Xiaomi, Huawei’s sub-brand Honor, OnePlus and Yu all started selling their smartphones in India. The biggest shock came when Samsung also decided to sell its exclusive handsets online in spite of having a gigantic offline presence.

Last year, the annual fiscal report of Moto showcased that sales increased 8 percent, including $131 million in Airwave sales, whereas in Africa and China the products segment sales declined 1 percent due to softness. The company generated $348 million in operating cash from continuing operations, reflecting an increase of $47 million from the year-ago quarter. Free cash flow2 was up $29 million to $280 million, driven by higher earnings.

It has been rightly quoted that success and failure is both the part of life and none of them are permanent. After its grand opening success, Moto also surfaced some serious impediments when some shipments of Moto G had some issues. In June, many users complained about receiving units that would not register on the carrier network. Motorola then responded to the trouble very quickly on its Motorola fan page on Facebook. This is how Motorola has set its strong foothold in the nation.

Nijhum Rudra
Journalism is Nijhum’s passion and he loves to make people aware of different issues through his writing and this is what inspired him to choose this profession. He loves to dig out unknown facts. He is also a post graduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, Bangalore and also an alumnus of Calcutta University.

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