Motorola may move new handset company to California

Motorola may be following  the 19th century dictate made famous by Horace Greeley: "Go West, young man!"

The company's co-CEO, Sanjay Jha, said that when the firm splits in two next year, he may transplant the handset and set-top box units to California--a major shift for a company that has been based in the Chicago metropolitan area for decades. The reason? Skilled, innovative workers.

"We'll go where that talent is, and right now, that looks like California," Jha said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. Jha said the company will likely retain an office and some workers in the Chicago suburb of Libertyville, Ill., where its handset unit is based now.

Despite Jha's speculation, Motorola made it clear that it has not announced any definite plan to move, and a spokeswoman told the Journal that it will continue to have a "meaningful" presence in the Chicago area.

Motorola announced its separation plans earlier this month. The plans call for the company to split into two parts in the first quarter of 2011. Yesterday, Motorola announced that Dan Moloney, the head of Motorola's Home business and a 10-year company veteran, resigned from Motorola to become CEO of Technitrol, an electronics-component manufacturer.

California has become a hotbed of cutting-edge smartphone development over the past several years. Apple, Palm and Google are all based in Silicon Valley, and Nokia has a handset engineering development lab in San Diego.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Chicago Sun-Times article

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