Will Motorola Move to California?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 23, 2010

Based in Chicago ever since it was founded in 1928, Motorola is contemplating a move to California, according to co-CEO Sanjay Jha.

When Motorola splits in two next year, Jha said he may transplant the handset and set-top box units to Silicon Valley. “We’ll go where that talent is, and right now, that looks like California,” Jha said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

This makes a lot of sense: Software acts as the biggest differentiator for cell phones and other gadgets nowadays. And much of that developer talent resides in California. Nokia has established a research presence in Silicon Valley in recent years. So has smartphone software maker Symbian. Apple, Google and Palm are based in California. Last, but not least, Qualcomm, where Jha used to work before joining Motorola, is headquartered in San Diego.

But uprooting Motorola’s existing engineering and marketing talent won’t be easy. Motorola lost a lot of great employees over the past several years, as it struggled to turn the business around. And it could lose more staffers if Jha decides to go ahead with the move.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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