Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Google To Close Its American Moto X Factory

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the cheaper-to-grow-them-in-iowa dept.

Businesses 154

An anonymous reader writes "After only one year in operation, Google's Moto X factory in Fort Worth, TX, is scheduled to close at the end of 2014. The decision to close apparently has nothing to do with Google's decision to sell Motorola Mobility to Lenovo and everything to do with poor sales numbers and high labor and shipping costs in the U.S. The factory had, at one point, employed 3,800 people. Their ranks now number at about 700. Moto E and Moto G, newer and cheaper iterations of Moto X, have sold in more profitable numbers overseas, so Google's original rationale of building phones nearer to the largest customer base to decrease time between assembly and delivery to end user will unsurprisingly force the closure of the U.S.-based factory and transfer labor overseas as well."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

As someone who... (4, Informative)

Bartles (1198017) | about 5 months ago | (#47134041)

...ships product regularly, I have watched domestic shipping costs triple over the last 6-7 years. I understand what Motorola is saying even if I am disappointed by it.

Re:As someone who... (3, Informative)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 5 months ago | (#47134047)

How does making the handsets in China reduce the cost to ship them to American customers? Seriously. Are there some odd shenanigans or something here? otoh, I can't imagine how any company can compete with the kind of wages you can get in the Philippines and China. The time to market thing woulda been nice since they could beat Apple or Samsung to the punch, but then Motorola's engineers and marketing didn't really have the punch they needed :(.

Re: As someone who... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134089)

Even the summary already explains that. They expected the Device to sell well in the US, so it made sense to have a factory there. Only it doesn't sell well, but it does sell well in Asia, so they can as well just manufacture it there.

Re: As someone who... (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 5 months ago | (#47134365)

And the reason for devices not selling well in the US is the bundling scam that the telecom operators runs. The telecom operators picks which models you can buy and which services that can be offered with it. So it may not be a fault with the device but with the business model.

Re: As someone who... (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 5 months ago | (#47134477)

And the reason for devices not selling well in the US is the bundling scam that the telecom operators runs.

In reference to other models, yes, this happens, but it's not the reason for the failure of the Moto X in the US. The Moto X is available on all 4 major carriers in the US, from the carriers themselves and from Motorola directly.

Re: As someone who... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134559)

The reason is that no one pays the full price of a phone in the US. In most other countries you'd upfront (or per month in a payment plan) the phone, and pay $20-30 in network charges. Americans have an expectation of $100/m in phone bills, and a *free phone*.

Re: As someone who... (1)

sabri (584428) | about 5 months ago | (#47134613)

The reason is that no one pays the full price of a phone in the US. In most other countries you'd upfront (or per month in a payment plan) the phone, and pay $20-30 in network charges. Americans have an expectation of $100/m in phone bills, and a *free phone*.

You mean "free phone". I recently (December) bought a new phone at AT&T. My contract was month-to-month as I used a phone that I already had. The choice that I had was:

- pay $99 for my phone (HTC one mini) and sign a 2 year contract;

or

- pay the full $399 for the phone and get a $15 discount on my bill

Obviously I paid the $399. Not only did I get it unlocked with one phone call to customer service, but it is also cheaper in the long run...But even of the phone would be "free", I'd still prefer to pay the full price. I like having the flexibility to say bye-bye to any carrier...

Re: As someone who... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134787)

I like having the flexibility to say bye-bye to any carrier...

you act as though the mobile company has a shotgun to your head tied to your foot. you can leave at anytime, the ETF fee is because you broke a contract. maybe you meant to say "I like having the flexibility to say bye-bye to any carrier without fees"?

Re: As someone who... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 5 months ago | (#47135469)

Well, at $15 a month savings for 24 months, you saved $360 on your bill but paid $300 extra for the phone, so you only saved $60. They're not really giving that bad of a deal. It's certainly less than had you bought the phone on a credit card and paid it off over 3 years.

Re: As someone who... (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 5 months ago | (#47134745)

The reason is that no one pays the full price of a phone in the US.

Yes, and the Moto X is offered the same exact way as other flagship phones. It's not being singled out as more expensive, and it fits the same paradigm as other phones of around the same specs, which means "vendor lock-in" isn't an explanation for poor sales in the US.

Re: As someone who... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134547)

Exactly this. And between Moto and the telecoms they completely botched the Moto X launch. It was staggered, late, and Moto Maker was allowed to be exclusive for ATT in the beginning. The telcos do this all the time when there is a big launch hyped. "Say that's some nice buzz you got there, it would be a shame if your phone was stuck in certification for 6 months....but if it were exclusive to us, maybe we make sure it gets priority consideration!" or the "We'll just put our dozens of bloatware ringtone apps on it" (And yes they did this to Apple also, though to a lesser extent as Apple had some real leverage in the beginning).

But there was huge hype around the Moto X but they waited until too close to the Nexus 5, the price was too high off contract, and they gave ATT Moto Maker to start. The worst thing is that it's such an awesome phone. It made Moto seem like they had turned a corner again. Ah well. Maybe Lenovo can manage them better than Google. Google is not so good with mass consumer hardware they produce themselves. They make great spec devices (nexus, chrome pixel), but they never did well with customer service or marketing them.

Re:As someone who... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 months ago | (#47134093)

TFA claims that the Motorola X has sold better outside the US, so presumably the trip to the dock for foreign buyers was starting to become more costly than any savings in getting them to American buyers, along with whatever delta there is between domestic and foreign assembly.

Re:As someone who... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134175)

That does make sense:

1: China has a monopoly on rare earths. You get a steep discount if you make your product on their soil than if you buy the rare earths to be sent to your factory elsewhere.

2: China has steep import barriers. Remember the voltmeters which were refused import because they were a certain color, and couldn't be taken back to China? There are no "fair trade" laws... The US does not export to China for the most part, and when it is an export, it usually ends up being made on the mainland after a while, either legally, or illegally.

3: This chunk of Motorola is now Chinese owned, so it is obvious the masters want to take their toys home.

4: Lenovo has been suspected of spying before. One can't change masks and add "features" to the SoCs when in the US, but take that overseas, and that "functionality" can be easily added.

Of course, people are bashing workers and unions. The factory is in Texas, for crying out loud. This is a state where owning more than four dildos is a felony, and unions have no presence whatsoever. The going rates advertised for the Ft. Worth assembly guys hired by a sub-contractor were $12 an hour. There were no unions involved whatsoever.

Re:As someone who... (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | about 5 months ago | (#47134239)

"four dildos is a felony" ... citation?

Re:As someone who... (1)

crankyspice (63953) | about 5 months ago | (#47134277)

"four dildos is a felony" ... citation?

Any number of dildos used to be illegal to sell in Texas, but not for years now. http://www.lonestarq.com/fact-check-dildos-really-illegal-texas/ [lonestarq.com]

Re:As someone who... (1)

marsu_k (701360) | about 5 months ago | (#47134303)

Oh I don't know. The fact that the law was struck down in 2008, as per you link, is just like... wow.

The usual disinformation (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134537)

Such laws (banning or regulating various "sin" related things like sex toys, porn, alcohol, etc) were common throughout the US for decades. Each state has changed or deleted these types of regulations and bans over time at their own pace (so in each instance SOME state is going to be last). The repeals have often been MANY years after they stopped enforcing them and most people forgot they were even on the books (lookup local laws related to transportation or pesky animals for some laughs). In this particular case, these laws were put in place with wording that would make them unlikely to hurt individuals but would be problematic for "sex shops" (which have generally be considered "undesireable" neighors) while not using language that specifically targeted those shops (making them more-easily struck down by virtue of being targeted legislation). The There are still thousands of crazy-sounding laws on the books all across the country - many in places like CA and NY which so many people consider "progressive".

It's a great political tactic to sling something like this into a conversation as a quasi-clever sleight to Texas (and by implication right-wingers) but the effect is lost on those of us with an education.

Re:The usual disinformation (1)

crankyspice (63953) | about 5 months ago | (#47134607)

There are still thousands of crazy-sounding laws on the books all across the country - many in places like CA and NY which so many people consider "progressive".

In New York, it's still, to this day, illegal to break the sabbath. http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/LAWSSEAF.cgi?QUERYTYPE=LAWS+&QUERYDATA=@SLGBS0A2+&LIST=LAW+&BROWSER=BROWSER+&TOKEN=45235476+&TARGET=VIEW [state.ny.us]

Re:The usual disinformation (1)

marsu_k (701360) | about 5 months ago | (#47134811)

Where did I imply I want to get into partisan bickering, or that I'm 'murican for that matter? I just find it very odd that such laws have existed so recently, enforced or not.

Re:The usual disinformation (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 5 months ago | (#47135413)

When they don't enforce a law, there is little, if any, incentive to repeal it.

And with 200+ years of accumulation of laws, the legislatures would do nothing but repeal archaic laws if they ever went down that road in the first place.

Easier by far to ignore it till the courts declare the laws unconstitutional....

Re:As someone who... (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 5 months ago | (#47134375)

Rare earth minerals exists elsewhere, but they are expensive to mine in an environmentally friendly way.

Re:As someone who... (3, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 5 months ago | (#47134421)

1: China has a monopoly on rare earths.

1. No they don't. America's largest rare earth mine, the Mountain Pass Mine in California, is back in operation.
2. Cellphones don't actually use significant amounts of rare earths, other than Tantalum, which comes from Africa and Australia, not China.

Re:As someone who... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 5 months ago | (#47134473)

2: China has steep import barriers. Remember the voltmeters which were refused import because they were a certain color, and couldn't be taken back to China? There are no "fair trade" laws... The US does not export to China for the most part, and when it is an export, it usually ends up being made on the mainland after a while, either legally, or illegally.

That had nothing to do with import barriers. It was simply the cost of putting it on a ship that was more than the cost of the multimeters.

The only import barrier in that was was US refusing the import because it violated Fluke's trade dress.

Re:As someone who... (1)

Mr0bvious (968303) | about 5 months ago | (#47134209)

I doubt the situation is the same for America and for volume distribution, but I can have an item shipped from China to Australia for less than I can post the same item within Australia - often when including the purchase price of the item. Yep, that's right, just the postal cost within Australia is more than the purchase price + postage cost from China to the same location in Australia.

There most certainly are some odd shenanigans going on here.

Re:As someone who... (1)

Oliver Wendell Jones (158103) | about 5 months ago | (#47134255)

I buy stuff from Hong Kong on ebay all the time - you can get items shipped from there for $0.00 - $0.99 shipping and handling - sure it takes 7-10 days to show up, but if they can ship that package 1/2 way around the world for $0.99, why does it cost $7.99 - $10.99 to get the same package shipped from 2-3 states away?

Re:As someone who... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134403)

Re:As someone who... (1)

Mr0bvious (968303) | about 5 months ago | (#47134595)

Is there a similar agreement between the Chinese government and Australia Post? Since we obviously don't have USPS here in Australia.

Re:As someone who... (2)

mlts (1038732) | about 5 months ago | (#47134543)

For RV-ing when I need LED bulbs to save the batteries, I end up ordering on eBay from Taiwan or the mainland for about a buck as well. Granted, it takes about 7-10 days to show up... but still. The light bulbs are a buck each with free shipping.

I wonder what I'm missing here because if I want to ship the same bulb to another state, it probably will cost far more than the bulb is worth.

China shipping costs (4, Interesting)

future assassin (639396) | about 5 months ago | (#47134315)

Why is it that as a Canadian I pay some insane shipping costs but when I order stuff from Ebay/Chinese vendors I get it really fast and 1/5 the shipping price. Go figure....

Re:China shipping costs (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 5 months ago | (#47134465)

I pay some insane shipping costs but when I order stuff from Ebay/Chinese vendors I get it really fast and 1/5 the shipping price.

You can't compare consumer-level shipping prices against the prices large companies pay... Operation costs for all those offices, phone numbers, etc., unsorted versus presorted, pickup costs, etc.

And besides that, "the shipping price" from US or China is just an arbitrary number chosen by the retailer. Many times on eBay, I see a $20 item with $1 shipping, right next to an identical $1 item with $20 shipping from the same seller. And obviously those sellers who offer "free shipping" are still paying to ship it to you.

Re:China shipping costs (2)

Mr0bvious (968303) | about 5 months ago | (#47134597)

Good point except that it often costs more just to post an item here in Australia than the combined product price + postage cost from China to Australia - so something is still amiss.

Re:China shipping costs (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 5 months ago | (#47135525)

I'm betting they have vertical control of everything except the last leg, they wait till they can fill a container up, put it on a freighter and ship it for a miniscule per-item cost, drop it off at a distribution centre owned by the same company, then hand it to the local postal service with whom they're already arranged a bulk discount.

Re:China shipping costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134779)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Ponzi#Origin_of_the_term_.22Ponzi_scheme.22

That will get you started on how the system started being abused.

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/903/why-does-the-u-s-deliver-foreign-mail-when-we-dont-get-any-money-for-the-stamps

That'll explain how the system works now.

https://www.uspsoig.gov/sites/default/files/document-library-files/2014/ms-ar-14-002.pdf

That explains, sorta, how (at least from a US perspective) the additional cost actually gets folded into the postal service where you live.

Basically, each time you get something sent via EMS, China keeps the money and runs. So long as the cost is just break even and the labour is cheap, that number is pretty low. And it might even be artificially low--the Chinese government, after all, understands that increasing the price of EMS would harm the local economy, and the Chinese government would be happy to pump cash into a system that keeps products being sold to overseas destinations.

Re:As someone who... (1, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 5 months ago | (#47134439)

Its not the wages... its the regulations, the taxes, the insurance, etc.

The manufacturing companies can operate just fine in the US paying US wages... its the other stuff that is intolerable.

And no, I'm not talking about income tax on business since that's obviously about nothing when all is said and done. No, the issue is the fees.

The companies get nickle and dimed for stuff that adds up to a big percentage of their total operating costs. Some heavy industries in the US pay more in these fees every year then they do in wages and employee insurance COMBINED.

the whole thing needs to be rationalized and then limited to some maximum percentage that is tolerable.

Re:As someone who... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 5 months ago | (#47134487)

What fees exactly?

Re:As someone who... (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 5 months ago | (#47134545)

They're specific to every business.

Gibson for example was paying a fee for wood harvested in the US.

They eventually decided they couldn't keep paying for it so they shifted to imported wood from india.

Where upon the FBI raided their factory and repossessed the imported wood citing an old import law from the 1920s that they weren't even in violation of in the first place.

You'll find this in every single industry. There are literally thousands of regulations and fees.

Pick an industry and I'll cite ten.

Re:As someone who... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 5 months ago | (#47134805)

How about if I had a factory that made cell phones?

Re:As someone who... (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 5 months ago | (#47134883)

They told you in the article... transport costs mostly were killing them.

Given that the transport from asia is if anything farther they're referring to the transport costs of parts etc that have to be imported or transported from other parts of the country. This specific type of thing is actually rather expensive in the US. Several other factory operators in the US have cited this as a problem. Especially small operators that can't handle the transport entirely with their own employees.

We'd then have to look at why transport is so much more expensive in the US.

Possible costs include the cost of the driver, the cost of the trucks, the cost of maintenance, the cost of fuel, insurance on the truck, insurance on the driver, insurance on the cargo, and then whatever taxes and fees exist on top of that both state and federal.

I have no break down on the difference but apparently the difference in cost from this one source is prohibitive on US manufacture itself.

Given that the US does manufacture many things internally still we'd have to look at what is different between the two.

I'd assume in this case the central issue is that much of the hardware while assembled in the US is actually still made in Asia. As a result that increases the length of the supply chain. I have no evidence for this but it seems like a reasonable assumption.

In the case of the cell phone maker and many similar industries that are being moved from asia, I think you'll find that they're not totally moved and that there are additional costs due to either limited US supplies or a longer supply chain from asia.

Its important to remember that business is complicated because every business is different. What is more, the tax and regulation codes are also extremely complicated and when one complicated thing interacts with another complicated thing you tend to get a multiplying of diversity.

Setting a maximum tax that included ALL fees, duties, etc as a percentage of profit would help with this because it would ensure that companies could pay all owed taxes and fees and yet not go broke in the process.

Re:As someone who... (1)

crimson tsunami (3395179) | about 5 months ago | (#47135165)

It's not the cost of the fuel. unleaded is ~35% cheaper in the US and diesel ~25% cheaper compared to China.

Re:As someone who... (1, Informative)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 5 months ago | (#47135061)

Gibson for example

This story has been a drum the Tea Party has been trying to beat for a couple of years now. As usual, there's more to the story than the tea party jackoffs would have you believe.

http://www.motherjones.com/env... [motherjones.com]

And, Gibson settled the case anyway.

http://www.motherjones.com/blu... [motherjones.com]

Re:As someone who... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47135209)

The Tea Party hasn't been relevant for years now, of course media with neo-feminist and socalist bias like Mother Jones needs a boogeyman. It's no wonder you believe the Tea Party is a threat using a source like that.

Re:As someone who... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47135573)

The Tea party managed to score some serious wins in my state's primary run-offs, and the incumbent candidates were very well-heeled.

The Tea Party does one thing right. They have a clue on how to approach lawmakers. You come to DC or the capital city, hold your march, have your speeches, then go home. This is why they are still around and kicking, while Occupy ended up a bump in Correction Corporation of America's stock price.

I'd love to see a movement on the left with the ability to sway like the TP does (i.e. at least wear the "costuming" at the minimum), but it likely would get hijacked by gun control activists, cop bashers, or just generic anti-US rhetoric in general.

Re:As someone who... (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 5 months ago | (#47135567)

Neither article actually addressed the issue or justified the use of a swat team showing up at the factory and confiscating the material at gun point.

As to settling the case, the entire thing was a vast abuse of power and given that the executive lately hasn't been responsive to either judicial or legislative oversight, it isn't uncommon for people to just settle and run away from what is turning out to be one of the least accountable administrations in US history.

As to which political factions gin up opposition to this behavior... it really doesn't matter... and citing well known partisan supporters of that same administration really does very little to back up your position especially when those articles are more in the way of editorials... that is opinions... rather then actual articles that cite real information.

Re:As someone who... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134993)

Damn those regulations. Businesses just can't dump their toxic waste directly into the rivers, force workers to clean smartphone screens with known carcinogens and are forced to provide workers compensation and health insurance for their workers. Friggin government red tape!

Re:As someone who... (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#47135615)

Damn those regulations. Businesses just can't dump their toxic waste directly into the rivers, force workers to clean smartphone screens with known carcinogens and are forced to provide workers compensation and health insurance for their workers. Friggin government red tape!

I completely agree with you, but the problem is that not trashing the place or the employees makes domestic products more expensive. The only answer is to impose penalties on products imported from countries that don't enforce reasonable environmental and labor laws. I figure that will triple the cost of Chinese products, but what the heck. And by labor laws, I don't mean they have to pay workers at American rates. I understand that for factory workers in China $10/day may be good money, and that's part of China's legitimate comparative advantage. Forcing students to work at factories en masse without pay, and various abuses of their paid workers, is another story.

Re:As someone who... (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 5 months ago | (#47135661)

Yes, strawmen are fun aren't they...

Now tell me why you keep supporting child slavery and sex with farm animals?

Re:As someone who... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 5 months ago | (#47134461)

Wages in China have been rising. Mexico is cheaper than China now.

Re:As someone who... (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 5 months ago | (#47134481)

How does making the handsets in China reduce the cost to ship them to American customers?

It can, actually... If the cheapest way to get an item from coast to coast is a big container ship, then having the loading done by $1/day Chinese labor can be cheaper, if the fuel costs for the slight extra distance doesn't erase it.

Re:As someone who... (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 5 months ago | (#47134957)

The two launch markets for the MotoE were the UK and India. That appears to be where they are most popular, not USA.

Re:As someone who... (1)

Lisias (447563) | about 5 months ago | (#47135395)

How does making the handsets in China reduce the cost to ship them to American customers? Seriously

Easy. You americans charge 20 times more for the shipping than the chinese.

Simple like that.

Last year I got some arduino spare parts costing about 40USD. I got free shipping, It took 3 months to get delivered at my home, but the shipping was free.

The same parts on eBay would cost me 45, 47 USD. Not bad. But the cheapest shipping would cost me another 50USD.

Do your math.

High labor cost in US, why ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134103)

I do not understand

Why must labor cost in US be high ?

Why ?

Captcha: unclean

Re:High labor cost in US, why ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134141)

I do not understand

Why must labor cost in US be high ?

Unions

Re:High labor cost in US, why ? (1)

Dionysus (12737) | about 5 months ago | (#47134865)

Unions

In Republican controlled Texas?

Re:High labor cost in US, why ? (2, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#47135659)

Unions

In Republican controlled Texas?

It doesn't matter. Unions are a right-wing bogeyman that gets blamed regardless of any rational analysis of their effect, or even whether they exist. For table thumping rhetoric, a really good bogeyman needn't b real. All you have to do is get a few million people to reflexively parrot it. This avoids the trouble of actually thinking, which makes some people's heads hurt.

Re:High labor cost in US, why ? (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 5 months ago | (#47134181)

Why must labor cost in US be high ?

Because the high cost of living is high in the US.

Re:High labor cost in US, why ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134193)

Every American is entitled to own a house with three bathrooms and drive five cars.

Re:High labor cost in US, why ? (1)

shikaisi (1816846) | about 5 months ago | (#47134441)

Every American is entitled to own a house with three bathrooms and drive five cars.

Well, you can't have that, but if you're an American citizen you are entitled to: a heated kidney-shaped pool, a microwave oven (don't watch the food cook!), a Dyna-Gym (I'll personally demonstrate it in the privacy of your own home), a king-size Titanic unsinkable Molly Brown waterbed with polybendum, a foolproof plan and an airtight alibi, real simulated Indian jewelry, a Gucci shoe tree, a year's supply of antibiotics, a personally autographed picture of Randy Mantooth and Bob Dylan's new unlisted phone number, a beautifully restored 3rd Reich swizzle stick, Rosemary's baby, a dream date in kneepads with Paul Williams, a new Matador, a new mastodon, a Maverick, a Mustang, a Montego, a Mercury Montclair, a Mark IV, a meteor, a Mercedes, an MG, or a Malibu, a Mort Moriarty, a Maserati, a Mack truck, a Mazda, a new Monza, or a moped, a Winnebago--Hell, a herd of Winnebago's we're giving 'em away, or how about a McCulloch chainsaw, a Las Vegas wedding, a Mexican divorce, a solid gold Kama Sutra coffee pot, or a baby's arm holding an apple?

Re:High labor cost in US, why ? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#47135677)

I'm sure everybody making $12/hr has all that and more. They may even get to put food on the table, and live indoors (providing it's a low cost-of-living area).

USA == Central Bureaucracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134055)

Soon to the passengers of the B Ark.

Re:USA == Central Bureaucracy (1)

ne0n (884282) | about 5 months ago | (#47134237)

I'll donate an old bath tub for this mission. Keeping my towel tho.

Features lock in. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134059)

Perhaps they would have sold better with a removable SD card.

Re:Features lock in. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 months ago | (#47134133)

Perhaps they would have sold better with a removable SD card.

The timing probably meant a two-way squeeze: As Google's wholly owned phone vassal, they presumably had an incentive to design with an eye toward Google's objectives(which, based on the devices chosen for 'Nexus' status, and Android's evolution in handling SD cards, apparently point toward a bright and glorious future where your phone ships with enough flash for the initramfs, which then downloads everything else From The Cloud...); but as Google's newly wholly owned phone vassal, it would have seriously soured some OEM relationships if they had immediately been crowned maker-of-all-things-Nexus-for-life and generally showered with favored treatment(and, while Google ownership did induce them to de-shit their "blur" nonsense in favor of shipping decent handsets, which probably saved them from further self-induced bleeding, it wasn't really marked by much overt coddling from Mountain View.)

Re:Features lock in. (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 5 months ago | (#47135377)

I don't know what brand loyalty is like but in my country it'd be

1. Apple
2. Samsung
3. HTC.
4. Sony xperia
5. Whatever market share is left of BB and Nokia
6. Moto and LG.

Does the USA have a strong 'buy American' ethos still?

I figure they'd have done better if they ditched the Motorola brand and just marketed Google phones.

Re:Features lock in. (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#47135699)

Does the USA have a strong 'buy American' ethos still?

How can you tell if something is actually made in America. That label on the box just says where it's assembled. The exception is cars, which must be labelled by total value added in the US, not just assembly. I have a car that's 85% value added in the USA. It's a good old-fashioned American brand called "Toyota". 85% is much higher than most so-called American cars.

Re:Features lock in. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47135731)

Actually there is anti-US sentiment in the country as well. Whomever the propaganda guys are, they are doing a good job of breaking will.

Most Americans refuse to buy domestic makes, even buying foreign car makes that are reliable... but when they break, you pay the cost of getting the individual parts sent from the factory in Germany, and that can mean 2-10 the prices of the average domestic.

There is just a disinterest in buying anything US made. If there are two identical X11 widgets sitting on the shelf for the same price, the one made in China will be bought... just because it is foreign and "exotic".

Until the "US ain't cool" attitude changes, it isn't surprising that the US is now in a recession again (yes, recession... the GDP contracted 1% since January which is BIG news and may mean a lot of job losses in a month or two.)

remove Health Care from jobs and then labor costs (1, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 5 months ago | (#47134063)

remove Health Care from jobs and then labor costs will come down. Out side of the usa your job does not control your Health Care

Re:remove Health Care from jobs and then labor cos (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#47134081)

remove Health Care from jobs and then labor costs will come down. Out side of the usa your job does not control your Health Care

Someone has to pay for the health care. Remove insurance from health care and then health care costs will come down. Outside of the USA, an insurance company does not need to profit for you to get health care.

Re:remove Health Care from jobs and then labor cos (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134147)

Remove health insurance companies from the equation, go to a single payer system, and then things will get far better. The US spends twice as much on health care than the next country on the list, Norway... and we have jack and shit to show for it because the money goes into the insurance companies and flies overseas, forever out of the US economy.

Re:remove Health Care from jobs and then labor cos (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#47135717)

It doesn't have to be single-payer. Germany has over 100 healthinsurancecompanies (German style spelling), but they're non-profit and heavily regulated. Works for Switzerland and a number of other countries too.

Re:remove Health Care from jobs and then labor cos (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 months ago | (#47134151)

Silly socialist! The risk of agonizing death from some untreated illness just incentivizes lazy poor people to work harder.

Not until the paramedics check your credit history before they check your vital signs will America be truly great again!

Re:remove Health Care from jobs and then labor cos (4, Insightful)

ShaunC (203807) | about 5 months ago | (#47134191)

I agree, make health care a social right and decouple it from employment and income. It would be interesting to see what the CEOs come up with to blame for the next rounds of layoffs.

Re:remove Health Care from jobs and then labor cos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134225)

In the early 1990s, I remember the mass layoffs in that recession being blamed on "the lazy US worker" compared to the stereotypical [1] Japanese worker who was touted as someone who would give his or her life for the firm he worked for.

[1]: Yes, stereotypical.

Re:remove Health Care from jobs and then labor cos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134335)

Not so sterotypical, companies and workers did have a model of cooperation that worked well. However, as the Japanese management welcomed American investor "values" and began fucking with laborers, while the govt kept borrowing and spending, the "magic" disappeared. It took several decades, but it is all gone now, sadly.

Re:remove Health Care from jobs and then labor cos (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | about 5 months ago | (#47135145)

In the early 1990s, I remember the mass layoffs in that recession being blamed on "the lazy US worker" compared to the stereotypical [1] Japanese worker who was touted as someone who would give his or her life for the firm he worked for.

[1]: Yes, stereotypical.

I remember hearing the same thing during the Carter administration. Its nothing new. What *is* new is that we now realize that maybe the Japanese didn't wreck the US economy all by themselves - instead our own 1%-ers did. The Japs were just a handy scapegoat to deflect the blame - "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" -style of distraction.

Re:remove Health Care from jobs and then labor cos (1)

hackus (159037) | about 5 months ago | (#47134447)

Technology should be employed to address the human condition of Food, Education, Shelter and Medical treatment.

Instead, we use technology to build weapons, shiny trinkets to enforce a consumerist lifestyle which is destructive.

We are branching out into using technology now to control and subjugate most of humanity so that a new dark age can take hold.

If it isn't stopped there won't be any intelligent life on this planet.

Perhaps we will find out why after half a century of looking for E.T., nobody answers is because Intelligent life tends to snuff itself out.

Re:remove Health Care from jobs and then labor cos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134819)

It you wonder what effect that would have on employment look at France

Re:remove Health Care from jobs and then labor cos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47135169)

Perhaps you should look at France indeed, as their 24-55 age group has better unemployment figures that the US.

They became tied to jobs in the US when (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134497)

Democrat president Franklin Delano Roosevelt tried to control the economy; During WWII he froze wages. Like any typical politician of either party, he failed to foresee the obvious and predictable response of the much-more-nimble business community. Businesses rapidly found another way to boost compensation in order to keep/attract the best employees; something the employees would happily take because it would be even more valuable than cash: "health insurance". Prior to this time, most Americans paid their health costs out-of-pocket and did not have health insurance. After the wage freeze, employees got their frozen pay PLUS health insurance (whose value was NOT TAXED) that would pay their medical bills (allowing them to NOT spend their limited and taxed cash on healthcare). Once this trend started, it proved impossible to break; now we all expect our employers to "give" us health insurance and we all expect not to be taxed for it.

This replacement-for-money (health insurance) we can "spend" getting healthcare does not "feel" like money to us and cannot be "spent" elsewhere so it becomes a driver of healthcare cost inflation. First, we do not feel financial pain when we use it (sort of like using credit cards versus cash). Second, we are insulated from rising medical prices (we are promised a benefit, not a price tag) so it has become a convenient way for the government to further tax us - by underpaying for medicare and medicaid services, which causes hospitals and doctors to shift the costs to the bills of people with private health insurance.

Obamacare will likely destroy this linkage. There's SOME poetic symmetry to one liberal Democrat undoing the economic distortion caused by a previous liberal Democrat... but that'll likely be of little consolation to the people who will no longer have an employer on their side in matters related to health insurance. Most Americans have depended upon corporate HR people spending lots of time comparing the costs and benefits of various vendors and policies, negotiating the best deals possible, and intervening when there are problems. After Obamacare fully kicks-in (probably in 2017 - it's tough to be sure given the dozens of arbitrary waivers and extensions in place) people will likely pick whatever policy looks "best" to on a government website and then when things go wrong nobody will be there to help them. Most people will probably pick policies about as well as they pick their food and thier 401K investments - which means they'll do a much worse job than their employer's HR people used to do. I actually support the idea of sparating insurance from employment, but I think it ought to have been done VERY differently and much more explicitly (perhaps by initially changing the laws so that individuals and small businesses were treated the same as big employers on health insurance (which has NOT been the case historically)

Re:They became tied to jobs in the US when (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47135069)

Of course, since health care wasn't "free" for employers, that meant that the intervening years had to have been prosperous ones for the employees not to notice that their health care was coming out of their paycheck whether they wanted it do or not and object to having their money "stolen", a la corporate-run Socialism.

Since the last half of the 20th Century was an unpredecented time of general prosperity, everything worked fine. Nobody really missed the money that they weren't getting until:

1. "Free" health care meant that provider rates could skyrocket with few people complaining/resisting.

2. The "permanent job" contract evaporated in the 1980s. Suddenly it because commonplace for people to become unemployed who normally would have stayed at one company until pension time (pensions also began to get scarce about this time).

3. Since employee benefits dry up when employment is terminated, the "stolen" money suddenly becomes important. People who might have invested it elsewhere more profitable had they had a choice lost the money entirely. Also, downward pressure on wages (assuming you're not C-level management) meant that there was less in the paycheck and thus less overall freedom to maneuver financially.

The "pre-existing condition" trap just made it worse. You couldn't leave an employer without risking coverage loss, but as long as employment was "for life", that wasn't such a big deal. However, when employers started shedding employees right and left, they suddenly found themselves potentially in dire straits. That's really one of the biggest reasons why the push for health care reform closely followed the changes in the employer/employee relationship. When unemployment because less the exception and more something that almost everyone had to consider.

And, of course, when you're unemployed, there's no HR looking out for your medical benefits anymore.

Re:They became tied to jobs in the US when (3, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#47135761)

Democrat president Franklin Delano Roosevelt tried to control the economy; During WWII he froze wages.

What's more important, defeating Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire, or worshiping the Market God? I think we won that war, in large part because the Arsenal of Democracy produced war materiel at a rate made the few rational people amongst the enemy scared shitless. Wage and price controls, and rationing, meant that we didn't have the sort of inflation that trashed the American economy after other wars. The War Production Board (a/k/a the control in a controlled economy) was disbanded after the war.

As for the short-sightedness of FDR (I wonder if anything other than market distortions was on his mind between say 1941 and 1945?), which helped lead to widespread employer paid health insurance, another liberal Democrat by the name of Truman tried to fix that after the war. He pushed for universal health care, but was defeated by the Republicans.

Re:remove Health Care from jobs and then labor cos (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 5 months ago | (#47134799)

remove Health Care from jobs and then labor costs will come down.

Robots don't need health care...

Welcome to 21st century manufacturing.

Re:remove Health Care from jobs and then labor cos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134981)

Wrong. There is a large number of countries where health insurance costs are directly linked to wages. Quiet a few taking some predefined percentage from your wage. This goes for a wide range of different countries. Many European countries as well as countries like for example Vietnam.

There are too many damn phones! (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 5 months ago | (#47134145)

There are dozens phones, each with one minuscule feature that sets it apart from the rest. The market is saturated. Verizon's website shows 31 different smartphones and most of those will roll off and be replaced within a year. And, judging by the pricing, they apparently can't even give the Motorolas away.

One Less Reason to Buy A Good Product (2)

TythosEternal (1472429) | about 5 months ago | (#47134269)

I'm very picky about my phones: had an HTC from 3.5 years ago, but when the 2 years came up I couldn't find a suitable replacement until I finally went with the MotoX. First off, let me make it clear--this is a fantastic phone, one of (if not the) best, and for many reasons. One of the reasons I went with it was the made-in-America bit, but honestly, I don't see another alternative--made in America or elsewhere--that's this good. That having been said, the next-closest contender was a Samsung, and I would still stick with the Google flagship phone over the Samsung regardless of manufacturing location--unfortunately, Lenovo's entrance has completely turned me off from buying another Motorola phone after this. I hope my MotoX lasts a long time...

But was Google even trying? (2)

morgauxo (974071) | about 5 months ago | (#47134289)

Everywhere I look it's Samsung, Samsung. My personal experience after having two Samsung phones and two Motorola phones is that Samsung has prettier LCDs and better cameras but their quality sucks. They are constantly locking up or working very slowly. But... everywhere I look the advertising is all about Samsung. Has Google even tried to market it's Motorola stuff? The last time I saw anyone pushing Motorola was back when the kiosk guys at the mall kept stopping people to look at the Lap Dock. I have one now, btw.. I love it! But... I was never going to buy one at their price! I bought it used and cheap after they discontinued them.

Re:But was Google even trying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134795)

You are talking out of your arse. What Samsung models with LCD did you use?

Re:But was Google even trying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47135019)

Well I loved the Motorolla Xoom tablet so Google could have done a lot with Motorolla as they did make some good hardware.

Re:But was Google even trying? (1)

swillden (191260) | about 5 months ago | (#47135051)

I read articles that said Google spent $500M advertising the MotoX.

Re:But was Google even trying? (1)

csumpi (2258986) | about 5 months ago | (#47135327)

I had both moto and samsung phones, and was happy with both manufacturers. Neither locked up ever. I think you are just making shit up.

Love the concept (1)

Rinikusu (28164) | about 5 months ago | (#47134305)

REALLY tempted to get one of the wood backed ones, but seriously.. Fuck AT&T.

Well, that and my old-man eyes really like the Note series screens (with the caveat that the Note 2 is the largest I want to go. It's already pushing the "will it fit in my pocket" test limit).

If labor costs are a factor you're doing it wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134453)

What kind of business fails to compete in an arena where the fattest margins of all electronics can be found?

shipping? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 5 months ago | (#47134521)

so you just make the phones in china and they magically appear in stores?

you still got to ship them all over the country if you want to sell the chunks of crap

Re:shipping? (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 5 months ago | (#47134821)

Except in this case the store is in China...

The Moto X is one of those things... (1)

iserlohn (49556) | about 5 months ago | (#47134639)

... which was a great idea, but extremely poorly executed.

The Moto G and Moto E is really amazing for what it is - budget phones that have all the right things - IPS screen, snappy processor, good software, respectable brand, LTE (on E and Gv2), etc. It sells extremely well in the UK and many other markets in the EU.

If they opened up a factory in the UK or somewhere else in the EU, it may be 10-15 pounds more expensive to make than in China, but still there would be plenty of takers. In fact probably more so as it is manufactured locally and in an advanced economy - a sign of quality in its own right. The Raspberry Pi is made in the UK, and they were able to pretty much match cost with the batches produced in China.

My thoughts on it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134717)

I don't think rare earth minerals have anything to do with it, as it's merely *assembled* in the U.S. You can pretty much count on the fact that most or all of the parts are actually produced in east Asia. I think the problem re: low sales was due to slighty lower-than-normal specs, no SD expansion, and possibly lack of marketing. I mean, as I recall, the thing was only *slightly* lower priced than other major-manufacturer's flagship devices and had a number of sacrifices in terms of specs.

One huge glaring flaw I see is with Google's adamant decision to disavow any support for external SD storage. I know it's a tad messy in Android and that is a valid concern (though they could make it cleaner if they wanted), but when they mark up 16gb worth of storage by several hundred percent (from 16gb models to 32gb models), some people are going to notice, and refuse to buy.

Needs to b e said (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134751)

This is why we need to be bring in foreign workers with the H1B visa program. There simply is not enough people with STEM experience who can build these phones here in the U.S.

Marketing. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47134863)

Seriously, there was close to ZERO marketing. Google really did buy MOTO for it's patents. If they really cared about making the company profitable they would have spent a bunch more on advertising as well as better R&D for the phones.

I primarily use Google products and yet I received not a single bit of advertising for any moto product.

not a great phone (2)

Njovich (553857) | about 5 months ago | (#47135021)

Moto X was a relatively expensive phone, with low specs. If you had $600 dollars to spend on a phone (either yourself or through contract subsidies), there would be very little reason to pick Moto X. The main attraction of the Moto X is that there are many variants in terms of colors and materials, and that's what you pay a premium for. Problem is, in this price range you already have lots of choices for very nicely designed phones, many with better specs. What's left is a niche market that is willing to pay a premium for stuff like a wooden phone back on a otherwise mediocre phone. That's still some market. However, I don't see how you can expect that to sell as well as a cheap phone with good specs like Moto G.

Also, the article suggests in tone that Moto X and phones like Moto X sell better in asia, but the fact is Moto X hasn't sold well anywhere. It's just completely different phones like Moto G that are doing well.

g00gle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47135283)

Take your whole company and get the hell out of here.

Turns out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47135313)

People really do want their SD Card storage. Or at least if that isn't available they want a phone with as much capacity built in as possible--for their music, movies, games and so they don't run out of space at Aunt Tildy's 70th birthday party when the stripper jumps out of the cake. Who knew?

PS: I have an account but not bothering to log in because fck beta.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?