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Zander made headlines at an otherwise innocuous talk on leadership skills in September 2005 when he lashed out at Apple, Motorola's former partner on the Rokr music phone. The long-awaited introduction of the Rokr earlier that month was overshadowed by Apple CEO Steve Jobs' decision to unveil the iPod Nano at the same event, and Zander grew tired of persistent questions about the iPod Nano from the moderator of the discussion.
"Screw the Nano. What the hell does the Nano do? Who listens to 1,000 songs?" he said. Zander's point was that people want devices that do more than just play music--a vision that has played out with the early success of the iPhone--but his anger at Apple came through loud and clear.
Brown, on the other hand, is seen as more pragmatic and more likely to take a hard look at Motorola's current operations, Daley said.
"Greg understands the business and what the costs are and how to drive costs out," she said. "He also knows that devices and wireless LAN networks are commodity businesses and has said they need to look at how the industry is changing. He seems to know what a commodity is and what to give Motorola, which is a distribution channel to the enterprise."
She added that Brown is also familiar with Motorola's device business and suspects he'll find a way to play all three areas off of each other.
Brown was given credit for orchestrating the company's $3.9 billion acquisition of Symbol Technologies, the second-largest transaction in the company's history. Symbol makes ruggedized handheld devices for businesses as well as networking devices.
Motorola also acquired Good Technology on his watch, which makes software that lets corporations equip their workers with secure corporate e-mail, in November of last year. Good competes directly with Research In Motion's BlackBerry software and devices, but Motorola has thus far been unable to come up with a combination of Good's software and a Motorola device that change the perception of the BlackBerry as the industry standard for enterprise mobile computing.
While Brown's expertise in the other areas of Motorola's business should help him out, he'll probably be judged on whether he can return Motorola's handset business back to the black.
"The greatest challenges are in mobile devices, returning it to profitability and extending its product portfolio," Brown told The New York Times in an interview Friday. But he'll have to find another hit like the Razr to vault Motorola back into a brand that's on the lips of fickle consumers.
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