Motorola tries a comeback with help from many friends

It was only three years ago that Motorola (MOT) was the No.2 handset company in the world, with a 22 percent share. Its Razr handset was that big a hit.

Those days are completely forgotten, at least for the thousands of people the company has had to fire to stay afloat. On its best days, four out of five handset companies outsell it.

Motorola still says it plans to spin-out its handset business, although no one is sure when. It is also difficult to imagine what shareholders would want with a failed business. In the meantime, Motorola plans to mount a comeback -- a last stand in the mobile arena. If this does not work, the company is finally finished.

Verizon Wireless (VZ) and T-Mobile will offer Motorola handsets powered by the Google (GOOG) Android operating system. That seems like a lot of chefs in the kitchen, but it may work if the products can compete against a sea of similar products.

The Wall Street Journal points out that "the phones will hit the market just as consumers already have a host of cutting-edge devices to choose from, including Apple Inc.'s latest iPhone model and Palm Inc.'s new Pre." That means that the new Motorola phone will have to be much better than products that are already world-class.

It worked with the Razr.

Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at

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