Lenovo Says Hello Moto For All Future Smartphone Branding

Hello again Moto, and goodbye Lenovo. No, Lenovo isn't closing up shop—that would be a silly move for the largest supplier of PCs in the world—but it does plan to stop marketing smartphones under its own brand name. All future smartphones from Lenovo will be labeled as Moto phones. Lenovo will also put new leadership in place at its smartphone division.

The Chinese electronics maker purchased Motorola from Google for $2.91 billion in 2014. It may have seemed like a deal at the time to Lenovo, as Google had paid upwards of $12 billion for Lenovo just a couple of years prior in a transaction that was largely motivated by Google's desire to beef up its patent portfolio. Unfortunately for Lenovo, things haven't worked out as planned.

Moto X

Lenovo is coming off a quarter in which combined sales of its Moto and Lenovo brand smartphones tallied $2 billion, a 12 percent decline compared to the same quarter a year prior. Lenovo chairman and CEO Yang Yuanqing put a positive spin on the results saying that its "mobile business had good quarter-to-quarter volume growth and margin improvement" even though smartphone sales showed "only modest growth."

As part of Lenovo's new strategy in mobile, the company is promoting Gina Qiao, former SVP of human resources, to replace Xudong Chen as co-president and SVP of the brand's Mobile Business Growth in China. Lenovo feels that Qiao has the marketing savvy to boost Lenovo's smartphone performance in mainland China, Yang said.

This is an uphill battle for Lenovo. The company shipped less than 11 million smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2016, and only 66.1 million for the full year.