Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha always remains in the limelight for his outspoken nature. In June, his comments about the openness of Android Market caused a huge furore. Back then, he said most Android apps aren’t tested for power consumption and CPU use and this frustrates device owners as they are forced to restart and frequently charge their devices, this in turn leads to a high device return rate.
As expected, the Google think tank wasn’t amused with his comments. To make things even more interesting, Mr. Jha yesterday said that Motorola is ‘completely open‘ to using Windows Phone operating system if they get the ‘same kind of deal that Nokia got from Microsoft’.
In February, Motorola nearly shut the door on Windows Phone 7. If there’s a true Android champion, it has to be Motorola. Then, why this sudden change of heart?
Jha believes apart from Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS, none of the current alternatives – Windows Phone, HP webOS and RIM BlackBerry OS – are ‘serious’ competitors in the current smartphone landscape. However, he remains confident that WP7 can beat out webOS and BlackBerry and become a viable platform.
“We’re not leading the charge on Windows 8 but as we become comfortable that there’s a viable ecosystem and quality of innovation and quality of services being there, we’ll certainly be open to it,” Chief Executive Officer Sanjay Jha told investors today at a conference hosted by Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. “Clearly all of our focus today is on Android.”
I believe there are several reasons why Motorola is retracting from its earlier ‘No Windows’ stand. Microsoft continues to milk the Android cash cow through its patent licensing deals with HTC and General Dynamics Itronix. Who knows – Motorola may be next in line? Secondly, though Google and Verizon Wireless played a key role in reviving Motorola’s fortunes, the carrier has now found a new best friend in Apple. Till last year, Android accounted for 80 percent of all smartphones sold by the leading US carrier, with 46 percent of those coming from the Droid family. Though the Verizon iPhone launch has widely been perceived as a disappointment, it has still dented Motorola’s sales at Verizon.
Lastly, if Motorola can bag a ‘Nokia-like’ deal with $2 billion in investment, early access to builds and marketing assistance, it’s well worth looking beyond the all-Android strategy.
If Microsoft can get Motorola on board, it would be huge for the Windows Phone platform. On the contrary, it would be a huge dent in Google’s Android arsenal. Jha says Motorola wants to expand aggressively into Europe, especially into Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom. His comments for sure are ‘aggressive’ to say the least.