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March 9, 2018

Motorola reportedly laid-off 50% of its Chicago engineering staff

by John_A

The Moto Z line could also be in jeopardy.

Motorola’s seen decent success with its affordable G and E-series phones, but according to rumors that have recently started going around, it looks like the company’s had better days. There’s a lot to this story, so let’s dive right into it.


Earlier this week, 9to5Google spotted a post on “TheLayoff” from someone referred to as an “Ex-Motorolan.” According to this user:

Motorola Mobility (Lenovo) just tapped 50% of their Chicago workforce on the shoulder to let them know they are being laid off. Their expected last day of work is April 6, 2018. Sad… and to think this was my dream job getting out of college.

Shortly after this started to pick up steam, Liangchen Chen — the owner of the keyboard mod for the Moto Z we saw at CES last January — linked back to the story on TheLayoff and said:

We cannot move on to production until we finish OTA update server implementation with Moto’s side. And the above layoff has a huge impact on current situation and future. This is the most I can tell at this moment.

Chen was then asked by a user on Indiegogo if this meant Motorola was getting rid of the Moto Z series after they released the Z3, and to this, Chen said, “To be honest, it looks even worse than that…”

After this news broke, 9to5Google received a tip from an anonymous source supposedly confirming that between 1/3 and 1/2 of the engineering staff at Motorola’s Chicago headquarters had been laid off. However, shortly after this, a Motorola representative reached out with the following comment:

In late 2017, Lenovo announced a worldwide resource action that would occur over the next several quarters, and impacting less than two percent of its global workforce. This week’s employment reductions are a continuation of that process. We are reducing our Motorola operations in Chicago, however, this did not impact half of our workforce there and our Moto Z family will continue.

What’s this mean for the future of Motorola? It’s hard to say for certain right now, but it certainly seems to me like something bad is happening. I don’t forsee Motorola’s current lineup of phones for 2018 being impacted too much, but the future beyond that does look troubling.

Based on what we know so far, what’s your take on all of this?

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