Motorola cuts jobs in new focus on high-tech phones

Motorola Mobility, now owned by Google, has warned its staff that about one-fifth of them face the chop.

It plans to cut around 4,000 of its 20,000 employees, and close a third of its 94 offices worldwide. According to the New York Times, around a third of the job losses will be within the US.

The company’s already started a culling of senior management in which 40 percent of vice presidents have been let go.

The company’s made a loss in 14 of the past 16 quarters, and now trails Apple and Samsung by quite a margin.

The move comes as part of a reorganization following Google’s acquisition of the company in May. It will refocus research and development in Chicago, Sunnyvale and Beijing, shrinking its Indian and Asian operations.

The company now plans to focus on high-end phones, cutting its current 27-strong product line to just a few, highly-featured devices. According to the New York Times, this will involve voice recognition sensors to identify who’s in a room, better cameras and longer-lived batteries.

To this end, Google’s hiring  metals scientists, artificial intelligence experts and acoustic engineers for its Advanced Technology and Projects division, headed by Regina Dugan, formerly of DARPA.

“We’re excited about the smartphone business,” new chief executive Dennis Woodside told the paper.

“The Google business is built on a wired model, and as the world moves to a pretty much completely wireless model over time, it’s really going to be important for Google to understand everything about the mobile consumer.”