Lenovo is doing a lot better with Motorola than Google did

Lenovo is faring a lot better with Motorola’s phone business than Google did.

The Chinese hardware company just reported that Motorola sold 10 million handsets in the last quarter of 2014 — up 118% from last year. It also said Motorola will be profitable within four to six quarters.

Google announced it would spend more than $US12 billion buying Motorola in August 2011, and the deal closed in 2012. Google said at the time it was mainly interested in Motorola’s patents, but also tried to revive Motorola’s phone business, investing in products like the Moto X, while laying off thousands of Motorola employees to cut expenses.

It didn’t work.

In the third quarter of 2011, when Google announced its plans, Motorola sold about 11 million handsets, according to Statista. In the last quarter of 2013, Motorola sold around 5 million, based on Lenovo’s report Monday.

In the third quarter of 2012 — the first complete quarter after the Google deal closed — Motorola’s phone business lost $US505 million on $US1.78 billion in revenue. In the last quarter of 2013, it lost $US384 million on $US1.24 billion.

Finally, Google gave up and sold Motorola to Lenovo in January 2014. Reportedly, Google CEO Larry Page hampered Motorola’s plans by refusing to allow it to work very closely with the Android teams; he wanted to keep other Android partners happy.

Now, Motorola is growing again and had revenues of $US1.9 billion — more than any time under Google’s reign.

All this seems to show that Google was wise to dispose of an asset that never made much sense for it to own in the first place.

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