Motorola Mobility Looks To Close South Korean Operations
December 10, 2012

South Korea Operations To Be Shuttered By Google’s Motorola Mobility

Peter Suciu for — Your Universe Online

On Monday Motorola Mobility announced that it will close most of its operations in South Korea in 2013 as part of ongoing restructuring. The decision to shutter the doors in the Asian nation will affect about 500 jobs. This follows a decision made last month to close down most international Motorola websites and to lay off about 4,000 workers.

This comes as part of the restructuring of the company under Google ownership. Google had purchased Motorola Mobility in May for $12.5 billion, while restructuring costs have pushed up the total price to close to $13 billion.

Motorola Mobility said in a statement that it had already begun telling staff in South Korea on Monday. The statement, which was provided to The Next Web, reads as follows:

On December 10th, we began communicating to staff in Korea our plans to close most of our operations in Korea, including our research and development and consumer mobile device marketing organization. The changes in Korea reflect our plans to consolidate our global R&D efforts to foster collaboration, and to focus more attention on markets where we are best positioned to compete effectively.

Our Home business and iDEN go-to-market operations will continue operating in Korea. We will also continue to provide customer service and warranty support for mobile devices that have been sold in Korea.

This was a difficult but necessary decision. We are very proud of the work done by our talented teams in Korea, and the many contributions they have made to our business over the years. We will offer relocation to about 10 percent of our R&D staff there. For other employees we will strive to make the transition as smooth as possible.

We are grateful for the support of our customers in Korea.

South Korea was one of the few places to have a Motorola Mobility research facility. About 10 percent of the local R&D staff will be offered relocation packages. Those who lose their jobs will receive compensatory redundancy packages, reported ZDNet on Monday.

Google had looked to acquire the more than 17,000 patents from Motorola, but the worth of said patents is still undetermined. The price tag for those patents could be resolved in court, as recent cases such as the Microsoft v. Google trial help shed light on what specific patents could be worth, ZDNet reported last month.

In the meantime, regardless of the value of the patents, some Motorola Mobility workers may feel that their respective efforts merely pushed them out of a job. Google has cut, or will cut, about 4,000 employees outside the United States and close up to a third of its 90 offices around the world in an effort to bring the firm back to profitability.

In South Korea, Google´s Motorola Mobility will still retain two business units, but will no longer offer smartphones in the country or market existing ones.

And Google isn´t alone in shuttering doors in South Korea. Beleaguered Web portal giant Yahoo recently announced that it would pull out of the South Korean market, and lay off 200 people; while Taiwanese phone maker HTC also closed its doors there as well. This comes as South Korean giants Samsung and LG, along with Apple have continued to hold sizable market share.