Feature Article

June 02, 2014

Google Closing Texas Motorola Mobility Plant

Google gave it a good run, but in the end the Motorola Mobility plant proved what Apple has seemingly known for quite a while. It’s simply too expensive to try and produce mobile phones here in the United States. Google attempted to put together their line of Android phones out of a factory in Forth Worth, Texas but that factory will now be shutting its doors by the end of the year.

Google opened the factory in May of last year while saying it would be a challenge to conventional wisdom that manufacturing in the United States is too expensive. At its peak, the factory had more than 3,800 employees but the number has dwindled down to less than 700 today. "What we found was that the North American market was exceptionally tough," Motorola President Rick Osterloh said in an interview when he was talking about the plant’s shutdown.

Google’s chief competitor in Apple seemingly could have told the firm this all along. Apple has taken quite a bit of heat for producing its handsets outside the United States but it continues to do just that in pursuit of the bottom line. Foxconn, in China, has long been one of the biggest producers of Apple handsets, but there are other plants around the world that put together components of the iPhone.

It doesn’t help that the Motorola Mobility section of the company hasn’t been all that successful even when ignoring the cost of production. Motorola is said to have sold about 900,000 of the high end Moto X smartphones in the first quarter of this year. In comparison, Apple sold more than 26 million units of its iPhone 5S during the same period.

The plant-closing announcement comes just a few months after Google let it be known it was planning to sell Motorola Mobility to Chinese computer maker Lenovo. While the deal is expected to close for an estimated $2.9 billion later this year, Google is saying the plant closing is independent of that acquisition.

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