|A Motorola Micro TAC 650e flip phone with box, manual, and AC overnight charger.|
Motorola, Inc. (pron.: //) was an American multinational telecommunications company based in Schaumburg, Illinois. After having lost $4.3 billion from 2007 to 2009, the company was divided into two independent public companies, Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions on January 4, 2011. Motorola Solutions is generally considered to be the direct successor to Motorola, Inc., as the reorganization was structured with Motorola Mobility being spun off.
Motorola designed and sold wireless network infrastructure equipment such as cellular transmission base stations and signal amplifiers. Motorola’s home and broadcast network products included set-top boxes, digital video recorders, and network equipment used to enable video broadcasting, computer telephony, and high-definition television. Its business and government customers consisted mainly of wireless voice and broadband systems (used to build private networks), and, public safety communications systems like Astro and Dimetra. These businesses (except for set-top boxes and cable modems) are now part of Motorola Solutions.
Motorola’s wireless telephone handset division was a pioneer in cellular telephones. Also known as the Personal Communication Sector (PCS) prior to 2004, it pioneered the “flip phone” with the MicroTAC – and, the “clam phone” with the StarTAC – in the mid-1990s. It had staged an enormously successful resurgence by the mid-2000s with the RAZR; but, lost significant market share in the second half of that decade. Lately, it has focused on smartphones using Google‘s open-source Android mobile operating system. The first phone to use the newest version of Google’s open source OS, Android 2.0, was released on November 2, 2009 as the Motorola Droid (the GSM version launched a month later, in Europe, as the Motorola Milestone). The handset division, (along with cable set-top boxes and cable modems) has since then been spun off into the independent Motorola Mobility. On May 22, 2012, Google CEO Larry Page announced that Google closed on its deal to acquire Motorola Mobility.
Motorola started in Chicago, Illinois as Galvin Manufacturing Corporation (at 847 West Harrison Street) in 1928, with its first product being a battery eliminator. At that time the radio had not yet been developed for use in automobiles, but Bill Lear and Howard Gates of Zenith made a pair; Lear designed the circuit and layout, Gates did the metal work and Lear assembled them. Bill Lear presented Paul Galvin with the prototype, and he last dismissed it. Later the idea was taken up by Galvin and a 200 unit production run was made. In 1930 Galvin Manufacturing Corporation introduced the Motorola radio, one of the first commercially successful car radios. Company’s founder Paul V. Galvin and investor Bill Lear created the brand name Motorola. Galvin and Lear mulled over names for the product on a cross-country trip and came up with “Motorola” which was a blend of “motor” and the then popular suffix -ola used with audio equipment of the time (for example “Victrola“). The product was such a success that Galvin changed the name of the company to Motorola.
The name “Motorola” was adopted in 1930, and the word has been used as a trademark since the 1930s.
Many of Motorola’s products have been radio-related, starting with a battery eliminator for radios, through the first walkie-talkie in the world in 1940, defense electronics, cellular infrastructure equipment, and mobile phone manufacturing. In the same year, the company built its research and development program with Dan Noble, a pioneer in FM radio and semiconductor technologies joined the company as director of research. The company produced the hand-held AM SCR-536 radio during World War II, which was vital to Allied communication. Motorola ranked 94th among United States corporations in the value of World War II military production contracts.
In 1943, Motorola went public and in 1947, the name changed to its present name. At this time, Motorola’s main business was producing and selling televisions and radios.
In October 1946, Motorola communications equipment carried the first calls on Illinois Bell telephone company’s new car radiotelephone service in Chicago, Illinois.
In 1955, years after Motorola started its research and development laboratory in Phoenix, Arizona, to research new solid-state technology, Motorola introduced the world’s first commercial high-power germanium-based transistor. The present “batwing” logo was also introduced in 1955 (having been created by award-winning Chicago graphic designer Morton Goldsholl in late 1954).
Beginning in 1958, with Explorer 1, Motorola provided radio equipment for most NASA space-flights for decades including during the 1969 moon landing. A year later, it established a subsidiary to conduct licensing and manufacturing for international markets.
Motorola created numerous products for use by the government, public safety officials, business installments, and the general public. These products include cell phones, laptops, computer processors, and radio communication devices. The Motorola RAZR line has sold over 120 million units bringing the company to the number two mobile phone slot in 2005.
Since the 1950s, used Motorola radio equipment has been popular with amateur radio (“ham”) operators. Known as “Ma Batwings,” Motorola has provided little to no support to hobbyists, who keep using these radios for years or even decades after they were taken out of production.
The company began making televisions in 1947. The Cathode ray tube, developed by the company in a joint venture with National Video Corporation became the industry standard. In 1960, it introduced the world’s first “large-screen” (19-inch), transistorized, cordless portable television. In 1963 it, introduced the world’s first truly rectangular color TV. In 1974, Motorola sold its television business to the Japan-based parent company of Panasonic.
In 1952, Motorola opened its first international subsidiary in Toronto, Canada to produce radios and televisions. In 1953, the company established the Motorola Foundation to support leading universities in the United States. In 1964, it opened its first company Research and Development branch outside of the United States, in Israel under the management of Moses Basin.
In 1969 Neil Armstrong spoke the famous words “one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind” from the Moon on a Motorola transceiver.
In 1973, Motorola demonstrated the first hand-held portable telephone.
In 1976, Motorola moved to its present headquarters in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Illinois.