During Motorola’s last earnings call, Co-CEO Sanjay Jha hinted that Motoblur would not be their focus going forward. Three months later, Sanjay is singing a different tune.
In their Q3 2010 earnings call, Dr. Jha boasted that Motoblur now has over 3 million subscribers and customer surveys show that those users are tremendously satisfied. “Our investment continues, if anything, at a higher pace moving forward. I think you would see us focused a lot more on Motoblur as a service and making sure that we provide end-to-end services from a point of view of personalization, customization, as well as diagnostic support.”
When asked if Google was a supportive partner in relation to Motoblur developments, Sanjay replied, “I think Google has taken the view that this ecosystem is better for the diversity that it supports.”
Another analayst asked if Gingerbread and Honeycomb might hamper the ability to integrate Motoblur services as some have reported. Sanjay replied, “I have no indication from anybody that our ability to differentiate is going to be limited.”
We can disagree about the success of Motoblur, but it’s hard to argue with the results that Motorola has reported. For the first time in over three and a half years, Motorola’s mobile devices unit posted a profit. In the last quarter Motorola shipped 3.8 million smartphone units and they are on track to hit the top end of their earlier guidance of 12 to 14 million units for the year.
The competition for the high-end phones is really heating up, but Sanjay thinks all the new tiered data plans will boost the sales of their mid-range smartphones and this is why they are guiding up the forecast.
Going forward, Motorola will focus on three key areas of devices – high-performance phones for the nerds like us, broad-appeal phones focussed on social messaging for the tweens, and business-centric phones like the Droid Pro targeted at the BlackBerry crowd.
Looking at 2011, Sanjay is confident that his new company Motorola Mobility will continue the momentum. “As I look more broadly at our portfolio in 2011, I feel extremely comfortable, extremely comfortable that we are well positioned.” If I had a killer phone and Honeycomb tablet dropping in early 2011, I would also feel extremely comfortable.
So Motoblur is not going away, Motorola will ship millions of phones in Q4, and 2011 looks to be a record-breaking year with some exciting new products.
p.s. Does anyone find it ironic that Motorola’s two best selling Android phones, the Droid 2 and Droid X, both feature MOTOBLUR-lite (aka BLUR theme, but it doesn’t say BLUR)?