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Sep 19

Hot Analysis: Moto is working on its own mobile operating system

Moto is working on its own mobile operating system

All hail the omnipresent people familiar with the matter.This time, these patrons of the internet have told InformationWeek that Motorola is not satisfied with Google’s Android, and that the company is working on its own mobile operating system.
Motorola has also been on a hiring spree, snapping up several former Apple and Adobe employees. “Over the past nine months, Motorola has been hiring engineering talent that would well-suited to create a new mobile operating system,” InformationWeek claims, “Its team appears to include a significant number of ex-Apple and Adobe personnel, including Gilles Drieu, VP of software engineering at Motorola Mobility, Benoit Marchant, director of engineering at Motorola Mobility, and Sean Kranzberg, also a director of engineering at Motorola Mobility.”
Motorola, for its part, declined to comment but did say they are fully committed to Android. Pulling this all together, I’d say it makes a lot more sense for Motorola to simply continue building on top of Android, leveraging the work they’ve already done on Motoblur. It’s fully possible to develop an enticing, differentiated interface on top of Android, without harming application compatibility.
                                                            Analysis
Leading device maker to seek differentiation: We have to admit Motorola is a leading device maker to seek differentiation. Sanjay Jha, the CEO of Motorola, is very wise to know how to balance short-term benefits and long-term ones. For the short term, Motorola stands firmly with Google to gain benefits from the ecosystem. Specifically, Motorola can get the release of latest version of Android earlier than rivals and more support from Google. However, Motorola knows the conflict between the strategy of Motorola and that of Google can never be compromised in the long term. Therefore, for the long term, Motorola is seeking quite a few ways to distinguish itself from other Android device makers. Firstly, Moto is trying to increase customer loyalty by helping them to tackle problems when using smartphones and understanding their using behavior. Apple has done this with Appstore and Mobile Me. Secondly, Moto is adding the element of enterprise to its smartphones. Lastly, Moto is reemphasizing the concept of device convergence. The concept was put forward in 2005 but failed because it was too early then. Now it comes again with the emergence of Atrix and Dock Station. In fact, Atrix is the first stage of its convergence strategy. At next CES, Moto will possibly show us a smartphone with dual operations, of which one serves consumer market, probably Android, and the other serves enterprise market, WP7 or linux-based OS. More complicated technologies, such as virtual machines and flexible switch of multiple tasks, will be applied to new phones. Moreover, Motorola will develop its cloud operating system to support cloud-based business model. I think cloud operating system and its business model are in very early stage and nobody could elaborate them. Therefore, it is a high time for device maker to develop them now and achieve staying at leading position in the future.
Uneven way to go: Firstly, as Sanjay Jha said, it is stupid to develop a new operating system without the disruptive technology innovation and strong finance capability. For the moment, these two factors do not happen quickly. Secondly, Moto has been expert in hardware innovation and solution integration. Developing a new operating system and building an open ecosystem are not easy for Motorola.
                                                            Implication
For Motorola: Very limited impact on short-term performance but cautions optimism about mid-to-long term. For short term, its performance is primarily determined by the launch speed and quality of new model of Android devices with leading hardware and software technologies. For the mid-to-long term, Moto may give us a surprise of happiness.
For HTC: It is more difficult for HTC to do the same thing as HTC is based in Taiwan. I am pessimistic about the move of HTC recently. HTC is intending to make its difference in content and service. However, content and service are considerably influenced by culture and race. If HTC fails to transform itself to USA based company, it is doomed to fail.  In fact, HTC should move its root from Taiwan to China Mainland. It will be much easier to achieve its goal on the land with big population and same culture.
For Korea-based and China-based maker: Undoubtedly, Korea-based companies and China-based ones will be final winners of homogenized smartphones. We will see more direct competition between them. It is still early to tell which will be stronger in future. Korea-based companies are competitive in components. In contrast, China-based competitors are strong in scale, supply chain, low-cost labor and tremendous domestic demand. I am inclined to believe China-based corporations will gain more competences as China Mainland will probably be largest smartphone ODM site.
 
Moto is working on its own mobile operating system