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Motorola Mobility is an American consumer electronics and telecommunications company founded in 2011 as the result of a split of Motorola. Motorola Mobility, formerly owned by Google, but now owned by the Chinese company Lenovo, is based in Chicago, Illinois. From the January 2011 split, Motorola Mobility took on the company’s consumer-oriented product lines, including its mobile phone business and its cable modems and set-top boxes for digital cable and satellite television services, while Motorola Solutions retained the company’s enterprise-oriented product lines.
The company primarily manufactures smartphones and other mobile devices running the Android operating system developed by Google. In August 2011, only seven months after the split, Google acquired Motorola Mobility for US $12.5 billion. Google’s stated intent for the purchase was to gain control of Motorola Mobility’s portfolio of patents so it could adequately protect other Android vendors from lawsuits. The deal closed in May 2012, after which it also sold its cable modem and set-top box business to Arris Group. Under Google ownership, Motorola Mobility increased its focus on the entry-level smartphone market, introduced one of the first Android Wear smartwatches, and began development on Project Ara, a platform for modular smartphones with interchangeable components.
Google’s ownership of the company was short-lived because it announced in January 2014 that it would sell most of Motorola Mobility to Chinese technology company Lenovo for $2.91 billion. The sale, which excluded all but 2,000 of Motorola’s patents and ATAP, its team-based division who worked on Ara, was completed on October 30, 2014. Lenovo disclosed an intent to use Motorola Mobility as a way to expand into the United States smartphone market.
In January 2016, following the August 2015 merger of Lenovo’s existing smartphone business with Motorola Mobility, it was announced that the company would begin to phase out “Motorola” as a public-facing brand, replacing it with the “Moto” brand used on most of its recent devices, and Lenovo’s “Vibe” brand. However, Motorola later clarified that the brand will continue to be used, but marketing will focus on its “Moto” and “Vibe” brands, whereas the Motorola full brand name will appear on packaging and its brand licensees. In November 2016, it was announced that Lenovo would stop releasing smartphones under its own name and the Vibe brand, and that all future smartphones would only carry the “Moto” brand and the Motorola logo.
In March 2017, the company stated that it would no longer stray away from the Motorola name, scrapping the “Moto by Lenovo” moniker in order to preserve the company’s legacy.