In 2009, Motorola successfully released its Droid smartphone into the market. After the successful introduction of the Droid smartphone, Motorola immediately planned for the development of its Droid 2. However, Motorola's partner, Verizon, was not satisfied with the Droid 2 based on feedback from customers. Verizon requested that the mechanical camera button on the Droid 2 should be done away with. Instead, Motorolla ought to install a software button like that in iPhones. Thus, Motorola was in a dilemma. Should it (1) continue with the Droid 2 release as planned, with no changes, (2) immediately stop the ongoing activities associated with the release and change the design and specifications of the Droid 2 to eliminate the camera hardwire shutter and substitute it for a software button, or (3) go ahead with either Option 1 or 2 above, and add some clauses and conditions that will reduce the expected impact of the decision? This case study allows students to step into the shoes of one of the members of the Motorola's Droid 2 Product Team to resolve the company's problem.
Mohanbir Sawhney, John Miniati, Kim Patrick Junsoo, Pallavi Goodman
Harvard Business Review (KEL772-PDF-ENG)
February 19, 2014
Case questions answered:
If you are one of the members of the Motorola’s Droid 2 Product Team, would you:
- Option 1: Continue with the Droid 2 release as planned, with no changes;
- Option 2: Immediately stop the ongoing activities associated with the release and change the design and specifications of the Droid 2 to eliminate the camera hardwire shutter and substitute it for a software button;
- Option 3: Go ahead with either Option 1 or 2 above, and add some clauses and conditions that will reduce the expected impact of the decision.
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Motorola's Droid 2: The Product Manager's Dilemma Case Answers
Motorola’s Droid 2: The Product Manager’s Dilemma – Case Study
Motorola is releasing a new phone riding on the momentum from their previous Droid I phone by releasing Droid 2. However, Motorola’s biggest customer and partner, Verizon saw the Droid model and is asking for Motorola to remove the hardware camera button. Now, Motorola is in a situation where they have three choices: (1) to continue with the Droid 2 release as planned with no changes, (2) immediately stop all ongoing activities, work backward, remove the button, or (3) go ahead with either option but they will add some clauses and conditions.
The criteria that will be used to evaluate the three alternatives are ease of implementation, customer satisfaction, profitability, time to market, and relations with Verizon.
1) Motorola should continue with the Droid 2 release as planned with no changes
The first alternative for Motorola is to keep with the Droid 2 release as planned with no changes to the current model of Droid 2.
The first advantage is that Motorola will keep to the original timeline, and their time to market will not be affected. The second advantage is that this alternative is a much easier way to implement, in comparison to any other choice. In this alternative, there is no need to change the current production schedule and waste parts that were already ordered. The third advantage is that Motorola will be able to release Droid 3 quicker because the company already knows what they need to fix for the new model.
Nonetheless, the first disadvantage of this alternative is that there will be a decrease in Motorola market shares. Hence, there will be a decrease in long term profitability. The second disadvantage is that customers will be dissatisfied because Motorola did not change and solve the top three complaints to Droid 1. The third disadvantage is that this decision will drastically upset Verizon, their biggest customer, and partner. This decision will sustainably sour relations with Verizon as Motorola did not take Verizon’s request.
2) Motorola should immediately stop all ongoing activities, work backward, remove the button
The second alternative for Motorola is to immediately stop all operations and activities about the current release and alter the Droid 2 model.
The first advantage is that Motorola will be keeping up with Apple and accessing a market of tech-savvy customers. Without the external camera button, Droid can set itself apart from the other Android phones on the market. Therefore, Motorola should expect an increase in profitability. The second advantage is that the company could satisfy one of the major complaints that customers had against Droid 1, as demonstrated in Exhibit 2. The third advantage is that Verizon will be happy, and relationships with Verizon will not be negatively affected. Verizon is the biggest customer and company that understand Motorola’s market and consumers.
Nevertheless, the first disadvantage is that there will inevitably be a…
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