Few companies have contributed to the mobile market as much as Motorola has, and despite the fact that most of these contributions were made in the pre-smartphone area, the company has still managed to maintain a strong presence in the smartphone market. That’s why it’s odd that Lenovo, which bought Motorola from Google back in 2014, has decided to kill off the Motorola brand name in favor of the new Moto by Lenovo moniker. Motorola’s name has a lot of power in the mobile market, whereas Lenovo’s has very little, so replacing Motorola’s brand name doesn’t seem like a smart move.
Motorola is an iconic name in the mobile world: the company produced the first cellular phones, debuted the first proper flip phones, ruled the industry with the RAZR, and then reinvented itself with strong smartphones of late. But the name is going away. Acquired from Google by Lenovo in 2014, Motorola will soon begin phasing out its brand name in favor of its corporate overlord’s. Motorola Mobility’s chief operating officer Rick Osterloh confirmed the news to CNET in an interview at CES 2016. According to Osterloh, the Motorola name will begin fading from view, but the “Moto” name for phones will remain intact – albeit slightly modified. The next Moto X, for example, will probably be called “Moto X by Lenovo” and feature Lenovo’s logo on the device and packaging. However, the Motorola “M” logo will apparently be used on the phones, as well. It’s a curious move in the short-term, given that Lenovo doesn’t have a huge presence in the mobile market – certainly compared to Motorola and its lengthy history. But by putting the Lenovo brand front and center, the company has an opportunity to use existing devices to build its own name recognition across the consumer tech spectrum.