Saturday, December 20, 2014

Google: New bosses at Motorola Home; is resale next?

In Horsham PA, Fawaz, Bell to replace Moloney, Roman; will Google sell the Motorola unit?

Google: New bosses at Motorola Home; is resale next?

NEW: If the change in control at Motorola Mobility's Horsham-based Motorola Home, following Mobility's sale to Google, means the new owner is looking to sell Home's video equipment business so it can concentrate on Mobility's larger phone business, here are some likely buyers, writes Bryn Mawr-based Light Reading Cable editor Jeff Baumgartner (corrected) (full item here): 

   - Ed Breen, the New Hope resident who ran Motorola Home predecessor General Instruments before his current gig running Tyco, could put a group together for his former colleagues, newly departed Home bosses Dan Moloney and Geoff Roman, if they can find backers with an interest in keeping rival Cisco from taking over the cable set-top box business
   - CommScope - Cable veteran Frank Drendel's equipment maker is backed by Carlyle Group, the same giant buyout house that's taking over Sunoco's South Philly refinery, by the way.
   - 
Juniper Networks -- also in the cable equipment business
   - Pace Plc -- already in the set-top box business
   - 
Huawei Technologies -- Cable TV in China is much cheaper than in the US

I asked Motorola if the business was for sale. Reply: "We don't comment on rumor and speculation." Adds spokesw
oman Jeanne Russo: "Motorola Home has a vibrant business with a strong product portfolio, leadership team, and customer relationships. We will continue to operate as the preferred and innovative partner to cable operators and service providers worldwide."

EARLIER: Just five weeks after Google Inc. took over Motorola Mobility as part of its drive to compete with Apple smartphones and portable telecom systems, Google has named new top executives at its newly acquired Horsham-based Motorola Home business group.

Denver-based telecom executives: Marwan Fawaz will head Motorola Home and Matt Bell will serve as SVP for strategy and technology, replacing Dan Moloney and Geoff Roman, who, Motorola says, have decided to go. 

More coverage
 
Google mum on Horsham site

The new bosses addressed a "town meeting" of Motorola workers in Horsham yesterday. Moloney will stay on until mid-July to help with the transition; Roman is done this week.

Moloney joined Motorola Home predecessor General Instrument in the early 1980s. The Horsham plant has made cable set-top boxes for Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp., and has been developing, for Comcast and others, what the company calls advanced systems for future TV systems and the "connected home," including software and new IP platforms, systems integration, video-gateway techonology, multi-screen video. 

Fawaz, an engineer whose new Motorola bio calls him "a top strategist in developing innovative solutions to drive tomorrow's (Internet Protocol) transformation," led consultant Saropta Advisers and was chief techonology at cable operators Charter, of Atlanta, and the former Adelphia, of Coudersport, Pa. 

The company says Fawaz and Bell will commute from their Colorado homes to Horsham and to many other company sites, including the company's software center in Sunnyvale, Calif., plants in Massachusetts, Britain, China, Russia, Singapore and other countries, and on customer calls.

The Horsham facility, built in 1995 to house 1,100 engineers, skilled production workers, administrative and sales people with $10 million in state aid, remains headquarters for the business, though Google has declined to talk in detail about long-term plans for the site as it ramps up development of new devices and software to compete with Apple smartphones and other portable telecom systems.

In brief statements released by Motorola, Fawaz was praised for his "extensive industry knowledge" and "innovative and collaborative approach" by Comcast Cable chief technology officer Tony Werner, and as a strategist who "understands the new dynamics" of the industry and "the biggest convergence opportunity in recent history" by Liberty Global CTO Balan Nair.

Joseph N. DiStefano
About this blog

PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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