Wall Street shorts Motorola

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br0adband

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Scary how the markets react to just one person stating an opinion even if it's based on numbers and research (and especially that, now that I think about it). More than likely won't hurt Motorola in the long run, they're so entrenched in the public safety infrastructure they're not going anywhere even if a competitor with superior products suddenly appeared and gave it all away for free.
 

SCPD

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They are a dying company. Many have seen this overtime. They have cut themselves in half. With changes after old Greg it's gone down hill. Rather then type out a long thought and knowledge of it I'll save it.

Many know this is nothing new. As said already other manufacturers offer same to equivalent these days. Many entities are cutting back and looking at other options as well as private sector going else where.

Many in the private sector feel why pay for one when they can get two for that price which can do the same thing, has same specs, options, quality. Governments cutting back locally and county government wise also thinking same thing. While some aren't others are and it'll grow with budgets hitting beyond a debt hole into the earth's core.

Many who control the monies are finding where to cut or save. I seen 2 entities question why something they bought brand new 2 years ago is no longer offered, considered outdated when next door they have the same equipment from 2 years ago and is still supported and offered and will be another few years, what they spend they only get 1 while the other for that cost can get 2 or 3 mmv.

Some are die hard with Motorola. It is cream of crop to them and they trusted it. So they will always go that route or are locked into something. Others well you can speculate why they go that route.

Honestly we been slowly leaning away from Motorola as well as others. While things are still purchased it's slowly going other directions. Personally these days I like Harris, Icom, and Kenwood. RCA even has a nice p25 gig.
 

unleashedff248

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I don't want to make this a Motorola vs the world issue... But as an end-user of radios in the fire service I have to say that Motorola has always stood up to whatever I could throw at them. I've used Icom, Kenwood, and BK radios. BK comes close with ruggedness, but nowhere near the feature set of the Motorola (on the DPH/GPH not KNG) . Icom was pure junk. They're not built like mission critical radios. And the audio was horrendous.

We used HT-1000's for our fireground radios until recently when parts became an issue. Those things were bulletproof. The speaker mic was the part that always broke first. I dropped one in a driveway during a snow storm and it got hit by the snowblower 12 hours later. The radio still worked but unfortunately the snowblower did not. The Icom would have been blown to pieces. I can't comment on Harris but us in NY still have a bad taste in our mouths after the failed opensky garbage they tried to push on us. The RCA scares me...

Personally I trust my life to motorola radios every day. I don't take that fact lightly either. My mantra: You get what you pay for.

Dave
 

mmckenna

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Some are die hard with Motorola. It is cream of crop to them and they trusted it. So they will always go that route or are locked into something.
And as those guys retire, so will that mindset.
Motorola has relied on their name a bit too much recently. While they do make some nice products, the excessive cost and horrible customer service isn't helping.
 

krokus

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And as those guys retire, so will that mindset.
Motorola has relied on their name a bit too much recently. While they do make some nice products, the excessive cost and horrible customer service isn't helping.
Similar to what I have been saying, for years. They (M) make a solid product, but I can get a comparable product for 1/3 the price, from another company. (To be generous, some could be half the price.)

Sent via Tapatalk
 

sfd119

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I can get an APX portable for an agency for $4,000ish and a Kenwood for $1,100. Same features.

With everyone's budgets getting slashed, why would you pay the extra for something that operates the same?
 

dpcain

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It's also worth noting that innovation has been kind of going the other way too. A lot of new advances in radio construction, software defined radio stuff, vocoding/transcoding, system infrastructure interfacing, and other areas are being picked up by Moto... after they've been released and working well for a few years from another company and Moto's customers start going "well why can't we have that?" There's not that much in the way of Big New Innovation happening there anymore, which is depressing given how much of a leader they were for so long.
 

greenthumb

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Scary how the markets react to just one person stating an opinion even if it's based on numbers and research (and especially that, now that I think about it).
Welcome to Wall Street ;)
 
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jim202

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I don't think it's the market listening to just one person, but the reality of what is really going on. This one person just put it in lay man terms that may have got the attention of those listening.

What was said is nothing new to those of us that are down in the trenches working with the radio products from multiple vendors. Today the bottom line is functionality and cost. Back 10 years or more it was more reputation, the wine and dine and how secure your job was with the decision you made on selecting equipment.

Today we see more effort being placed on the proprietary features by this company of what is already installed as a lever to bend people's mind on staying with that company name. Doesn't matter that it costs way more than the competition.

One other ploy that we have seen used is cutting the life span of equipment so you will be forced into buying new versions much sooner than planned. Just look at the products that have been listed as "End Of Life" over the last couple of years. This is just a way of raising prices on the new models with the same features, but put inside a new shell. This started with the Spectra and the Astro Spectra radio families. Change a couple of circuits so the old hardware and circuit boards could not be swapped between them.

Look at the software that Motorola puts out to program their radios. It cost a fortune compared with most of the other vendors. Plus the software geeks that are writing the software seem to rely more on the end user to find all the flaws in what they write, rather than do that much testing to find the problems before shipping it out to the users. The trend also seems to be to remove features that were in earlier versions in some cases. Make that a firmware option so they could sucker the end user into paying more for the firmware option that use to be a normal function. Great way to make more money and tick off the end customer.

The selling off of the different divisions was the first clue that the board of directors were not doing the same job as those before them. The new CEO many years back started the down slide and poor customer service.

Doesn't matter what a company does, if they treat their customers like crap, you should expect a strong push back from those customers. Sears is a good example of poor customer service these days and a CEO that doesn't have a clue how to run the company. We just might be seeing Motorola going down the same rail road tracks as Sears with this latest trend.

I own a pile of Motorola radios and service them. But just might have to start thinking about where I am putting my funds in the future.

Time will tell.
 
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prc117f

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I don't want to make this a Motorola vs the world issue... But as an end-user of radios in the fire service I have to say that Motorola has always stood up to whatever I could throw at them. I've used Icom, Kenwood, and BK radios. BK comes close with ruggedness, but nowhere near the feature set of the Motorola (on the DPH/GPH not KNG) . Icom was pure junk. They're not built like mission critical radios. And the audio was horrendous.

We used HT-1000's for our fireground radios until recently when parts became an issue. Those things were bulletproof. The speaker mic was the part that always broke first. I dropped one in a driveway during a snow storm and it got hit by the snowblower 12 hours later. The radio still worked but unfortunately the snowblower did not. The Icom would have been blown to pieces. I can't comment on Harris but us in NY still have a bad taste in our mouths after the failed opensky garbage they tried to push on us. The RCA scares me...

Personally I trust my life to motorola radios every day. I don't take that fact lightly either. My mantra: You get what you pay for.

Dave
Up to a point. Not sure 15-20K a radio is necessary.
 

PJH

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Part of the issue is the Motorola sales and marketing teams. They push, and push hard. Some area sales guys have gone to the extent that all products on trunked systems are required to be Motorola for compatibility (which is counter to P25 standards and though processes) and many IT guys (who for the most part run these systems) subscribe to this.

For them, its easy: One vendor, one set of equipment, one set of problems - at x3 the costs.

For the other poster above - NYS was the issue, not MA/COM (at the time). MA/COM did oversell features that worked great in the data environment, but never could get OS to work as advertised. When it did, worked well - but never was consistent. NYS has been a major GE/MA-COM/Harris customer for decades, so no one expected Motorola to get that contract.

I have several other vendor radios, and I will tell you - other than difference quirks, I am leaning towards Harris for new department radios. I hate the idea of multiple platforms (see above) but when on a tight budget and can get two for one, its an easy sell.

Another issue I have seen at Motorola are all the college kids that appear to come in with management titles, but really have no grasp of the core business. They leave the MSS's to rope in the customers on business solutions (which they do a good job with for DMR), and then need to keep upselling via the territory reps for public safety.

Since taking back the MSS ordering powers for ABP sales, we are back to long delays and checks just to order simple flashport upgrades or even one radio.

Motorola has overly complicated the wheel again, and its showing.

No doubt they have some very good products, but the others make just as good if not better without requiring 100 firmware updates and future standard features.

R&D has been replaced by "get to market" and we will "fix it down the road".
 

millrad

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The article seems accurate. Here in Connecticut, Motorola has been losing it's traditional foothold in the public safety arena, mostly due to economics. Mother M can't coast on its reputation as easily these days, particular in cost-conscious cities, where lower bids generally win big contracts. One example - the formerly Motorola-loyal city of Waterbury, which is now fully vested in an E.F. Johnson Atlas P25 system, and quite happy with it as well.
 

namhcor

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Here in the NYC Metropolitan area, Motorola is losing out in the commercial and public safety markets to manufacturers like Yaesu/Vertex, Kenwood, Canadian Tait and Chinese Tytera which all do DMR format.
 

MTS2000des

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I think everyone can agree MSI is on borrowed time. MSI has been on the market for what, 3 years now and no one has picked them up?

The competition in the P25 infrastructure and subscriber market is real. Harris and EFJ/Kenwood have quality subscriber radios at sometimes half to a third the cost of MSI, and their infrastructure is also substantially less expensive and complex.

Both Harris and EFJ don't rely on centralized prime/master site designs eliminating single points of failure, and any site can take over call processing. I have seen a VIDA core and am very impressed.
 

ten13

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I saw this coming a long time ago, when they "split" the company into two.

If this was the "old days," Motorola could survive. But they turned a blind eye to the competition, many of whom had good products in their own right, and at a much better price, and in which the rapid advancement of "technology" allowed the competition to catch-up, if not by-pass, Motorola in their radio business.

And, from the consumer's point of view: look how Motorola treats it's programming software. they make it look like it's some nuclear formula to which only a select few are allowed to look at, much less use. Meanwhile, other radio companies openly sell programming software, at a reasonable price, or even throw it in with the purchase of the radio. Why should someone buy a $5,000 radio, and then have to pay exorbitant amounts to put the frequencies in, when you can pay 20% of what a Motorola costs and have one of your friends program it at NO additional expense?

All my radios are Motorola, but I've had a working experience with Kenwood over the past few years, and was pleasantly surprised.

And with the advent of the Chinese radios being on the market (granted, no comparison to M or K), a really cheap radio that is sought by the individual radio buyer, even the second-hand market for Motorola has taken a hit (although Motorola is probably a LOT easier to program than the Chinese products).

The radio business has turned a page, but Motorola is still reading the first chapter.
 

k0aa

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I saw this coming a long time ago, when they "split" the company into two.

If this was the "old days," Motorola could survive. But they turned a blind eye to the competition, many of whom had good products in their own right, and at a much better price, and in which the rapid advancement of "technology" allowed the competition to catch-up, if not by-pass, Motorola in their radio business.

And, from the consumer's point of view: look how Motorola treats it's programming software. they make it look like it's some nuclear formula to which only a select few are allowed to look at, much less use. Meanwhile, other radio companies openly sell programming software, at a reasonable price, or even throw it in with the purchase of the radio. Why should someone buy a $5,000 radio, and then have to pay exorbitant amounts to put the frequencies in, when you can pay 20% of what a Motorola costs and have one of your friends program it at NO additional expense?

All my radios are Motorola, but I've had a working experience with Kenwood over the past few years, and was pleasantly surprised.

And with the advent of the Chinese radios being on the market (granted, no comparison to M or K), a really cheap radio that is sought by the individual radio buyer, even the second-hand market for Motorola has taken a hit (although Motorola is probably a LOT easier to program than the Chinese products).

The radio business has turned a page, but Motorola is still reading the first chapter.
My fire service career began in California in 1963. I retired in 2013. For the first 12 years of my career, Motorola was the predominant radio equipment supplier (with some GE radios scattered here and there). RCA had a few public safety systems here and there.

IMHO, Motorola made outstanding equipment and had highly competent technicians and private enterprise radio systems sales and service (RSS) people to back up their equipment.

Around 1989, Kenwood began making inroads into Motorola's market share for conventional radio systems. Motorola still had a big share of the public safety market because they had the dispatch console market cornered with their very effective Centracom products.

By 1995, Kenwood mobile radio products were becoming increasingly common for conventional systems. Motorola was doing well with their trunking systems, and government entities were essentially married to Motorola once they acquired one of their trunking systems.

The word "proprietary" came into play once Motorola trunking systems were acquired. I was the fire chief in a city that acquired an elaborate trunking system from Motorola in the 1990's before I was selected as the fire chief. About 7 years after the system was acquired, Motorola notified us that the simulcast trunking systems's radio sites would need to be replaced. The reasons were (a) the parts for system repairs normally were only guaranteed to be available for 7 years, and (b) the new equipment would be better and more reliable than the previously acquired equipment. The cost was estimated to be $28 million. That price didn't include replacing the 600+ mobile units or the 750+ portable radios. Once my employer initially purchased a Motorola trunking system, it became almost economically impossible to do anything but keep buying from Motorola.

Today, Motorola has more competition in the initial system purchase arena. Although I always felt the Motorola public safety radio products were high quality and very reliable, it became impossible for me to explain to city council members or purchasing agents why we had to buy a $3,600 Motorola portable radio instead of a $960 Kenwood model. Harris, Tait, EF Johnson, Relm, Bendix-King, Kenwood and other companies became adept at letting city officials - in hundreds of cities - know that their products were high quality at about 25-40% of what a Motorola product would cost.

Competition for dollars is intense in most cities, and I began to see Motorola system and equipment costs as being unnecessarily higher than I and others felt we could afford.

Switching an entire system from Motorola to another vendor isn't something that I've done so I can't comment on that. But, getting the funds to do that would be very difficult or impossible in a large jurisdiction.

During the last 9 years of my career, I was employed by a city that switched to Kenwood radios prior to my appointment. I became, was and still am a fan of Kenwood products with regard to conventional VHF and UHF radio systems. I haven't used any Kenwood trunking products nor have I researched if Kenwood has assumed any of Motorola's market share of trunking systems.

But, the economic realities of constricted municipal budgets is causing more cities to take a broader look at the variety of products and features that are less expensive than those sold by Motorola.

Interoperability wasn't a widely used term 20 years ago, but it is now.

IMHO, communications equipment vendors whose trunking systems accept properly configured radios produced by other manufacturers will soon corner the market. They won't push Motorola to the side of the road. Rather, Motorola's systems that don't, won't or can't accomodate non-"Big M" radios will do it.

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts on this matter.
 

mmckenna

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Switching an entire system from Motorola to another vendor isn't something that I've done so I can't comment on that. But, getting the funds to do that would be very difficult or impossible in a large jurisdiction.
I switched a single site Motorola SmartNet 800MHz trunked system over to a Kenwood NexEdge 800MHz system a few years ago.

The SmartNet system was falling apart, and I had to do something. The central control (6809) would fail nearly weekly. The old MSF-5000's would wander all over the place.
Motorola wanted us to upgrade to P25. Looking at close to $1 million.
The Kenwood system ran less than $200K. I had so much money left over that I subsidized the replacement cost for the end user radios by about 25%.
Didn't need P25 for what we were doing. End users got much more affordable radios. Been a few years now and no issues.
Kenwood is MUCH easier to deal with than Motorola.
I've had a few people tell me it's not "interoperable".
B.S.
With all the money I saved, I put up a single channel conventional repeater at a secondary site. Anyone that needs to interoperate with us can put their own radios on the analog repeater without issue. Interoperability and a backup system all for one low price.
 
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