The Motorola Story
~A Viewpoint Editorial~Today, a tiny percentage of people control the bulk of the financial world and decision making. Unfortunately these few individuals with lots of power don't serve the interests and needs of the masses. If they did, we wouldn't have such extremes in poor and rich. In this article you can read a real world example of how big people in the corporate world can affect lots of people and their lives. Let us focus on one such corporation known as Motorola.
First and foremost, we have the Iridium Project, the phone in the skies. Despite it being a spin-off corporation, it was largely invested and developed in connection with Motorola. Many people, including the small-time investors and lower employees were adversely affected by ill-planned decisions by the few in power. What went wrong?
It started in the early 1990's when Motorola conceived of an idea to use satellites as a telecommunications network. The idea seemed very lofty and exciting! By 1994, Motorola had raised $1.6 billion and was one of the principle investors of the new Iridium spin-off company. Iridium filed for bankruptcy just nine months after it began offering service in 1999.
Details of Poor PlanningWe have 66 Satellites in earth orbit that cost at least $5,000,000,000
The main problem with the Iridium phone was that a person must be outside in the weather, sunny or raining, to make a phone call that cost up to $7 a minute on a $3,000 handset. I have a bad habit of making phone calls inside and sometimes talk a half hourhow about you? See problem number one? If you want to carry it around, you better strap on a carrying case because it's big, way too big for your pants pocket. The antenna that receives/transmits satellite signals might be mistaken as a policeman's club.
Back in 1999 cell phones were already small. At the same time the Iridium phone was sized like the old bricks of the 1980's and it had an even bigger antenna. That certainly is a recipe for success. If Motorola had tested just a few satellites with the phones, they would have discovered the short-comings and then could have strategized how they would make the satellite system work. Here's an idea: why not use the satellites as a buffer between cellular towers to eliminate the need for land lines. At the very least Motorola could have suspended major spending on the project before so much money was lost and so many lives of the little people were affected negatively. Sadly, the big guys at the top "likely" being too proud to admit failure with that decision pressed on not changing strategies before they lost tons of money.
Who Suffers at The Hand of Big-Wigs?When such serious decisions have disastrous results who do you think really gets hit? Either directly or indirectly it causes job loss of the common person within a corporation. I can't see how it wouldn't cause that ripple effect. They had to cut costs somewhere along the line.
Motorola during the mid 1990's had 150,000+ employees, but since 2006 the numbers are 68,000 or less and getting smaller. Much of the layoffs are due to outsourcing jobs over seas for cheap labor and cheap technical expertise. But guess what? Do the big people in big positions take their punishment too? A BIG NO! Even if the high-ups do have their jobs cut, they get to sell off their own stock options for a tidy sum. The people at the top typically have a golden parachute too. The parachute provides millions of dollars paid to each top executive when their job ends. Some get tens of millions of dollars just for leaving the company. This is not just with Motorola, but with many large corporations where the top paid individuals prosper when others simply suffer with a job loss (in comparison, many general employees get little to no compensation).
Another Example of NegligenceThe second blunder surfaced around 1996 with that being the opening of the Motorola facility in the town of Harvard in Illinois. The facility is a 1,300,000 square foot building with the latest in high-tech cell phone manufacturing capabilities. At one time the Harvard Motorola facility employed upwards of 5,000 people and now has it's doors closed since the first half of 2006.
I saw the building in its hey-day back in 1998. It was more like a gigantic future tech palace than your traditional factory. It was immaculate! In the center of the sprawling structure, there was a large cafeteria atrium with inside landscaping giving a person a tropical-like experience while having a bite to eat. For a moment, I thought I'd just stepped into a paradise.
Somehow the Motorola elite thought that they could attract factory workers from other far-off Motorola facilities to the middle of nowhere in rural town Harvard. How did these elitist think that they were going to uproot 100's and 1,000's of families from their existing homes to live in a place with limited access to everyday goods? It was a social disaster as well as an employment disaster plan. To this day I don't know what these men and women in power were thinking. The campus never utilized more than 50% or so of capacity. It was quite a shame that such a beautiful place never reached potential. Again, who gets hurt the most by this waste? More people with their jobs cut.
Finally, we have a blunder that is affecting all of corporate America: outsourcing. It was not just simple outsourcing, but outsourcing to other countries. Yep Motorola and many other corporations in America were and currently still are sending jobs to other cheap labor and cheap technical countries overseas and south of the border. Some of the super-rich class are worried about the middle class going bye-byes. Who's going to buffer the rich from the poor when the middle class is gone?
These problems are not simply unique to Motorola, but of many large corporate structures. The rich and powerful are cannibalizing whole nations for their own benefit, for their own personal financial play grounds. These big-wigs play chess and thousands lose their jobs. That is the story of Motorola and more importantly the common theme in today's corporations.
Iridium and now Teledesic
Motorola closes Harvard facility
Motorola escapes judicial punishment: "Too bad Enron did not compartmentalize its operations like Motorola, setting up LLCs to handle handle Enrons various losing ventures, ... That way, like Motorola, Enron could have fobbed off its losing ventures to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court." quoted from comments area
Orig. Date: 10/14/07
Author: Anonymous Contributor
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