We've been trying to keep our heads up about the Lenovo-Motorola deal, but let's be honest: news like this is not encouraging. A Wall Street Journal report claims that Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside, whom many had credited with the company's impressive new product lines in 2013, is leaving for Dropbox. Woodside began working for Motorola after more than ten years at Google, succeeding Sanjay Jha after Google acquired the company.
The Wall Street Journal cites three anonymous sources in its detailed report, but Google confirmed the news shortly thereafter.
Dennis and the team have reinvented Motorola, with wonderful products like Moto X and Moto G," said Google CEO Larry Page. "I wish him all the best with his new big job at Dropbox.
Working for Dropbox would be a step down in prestige for Woodside (insomuch as a multi-million dollar a year job can be a "step down"), but shakeups were inevitable after Google sold Motorola to the Chinese electronics giant. Dropbox is the leader in the consumer-focused online storage market, having recently been valued at $10 billion. Google sold Motorola for just under $3 billion.
Woodside has led Motorola for under two years at this point, during which he's introduced the well-received Moto X and Moto G product lines. These phones have given Motorola a reputation for some of the best combinations of hardware, software, and unlocked price in the industry, to say nothing of the ambitious Moto Maker customization site available to US customers. On the other hand, Motorola remains unprofitable more than two years after the announcement of the Google acquisition. There's no getting around it: that's kind of a big deal for a CEO.
Let's try not to play with the crystal ball on this one, but the idea that Motorola can keep its current corporate culture after the transition to Lenovo is rapidly fading. It will be interesting to see who Lenovo finds to replace Woodside.
Update: Mr. Woodside has posted a short explanation of his departure on the official Motorola blog. He'll be leaving at the end of March and Google vice president of products Jonathan Rosenberg will become the Chief Operating Officer of Motorola. Beyond that, it's the usual safe executive language.
Source: The Wall Street Journal