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March 10, 1988

MOTOROLA UK AFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO DIGITAL CELLULAR, SEES BULLISH OUTLOOK

By CBR Staff Writer

Motorola Ltd, the UK subsidiary of the Schaumberg, Illinois-based parent, will certainly be a player in the pan-European digital cellular equipment market, although it does not know yet whether it will team up with local partners or go it alone: chairman Michael Phillips confirmed at yesterday’s 1987 review that the company was holding discussions with potential European partners, but asserted bullishly that Motorola was quite willing to go it alone if it was felt to be applicable. Although keen to draw attention to 1987 UK pre-tax profit and turnover figures of UKP17m and UKP300m respectively, the company appeared unable to provide a detailed breakdown of its UK revenues: the pattern is unlikely to vary greatly from the worldwide trend however, where communications accounted for some 42% of the company’s 1987 $6,000m turnover, with semiconductors at 37%, following closely behind. Figures of this kind reinforce the prevailing view that the System 8000 Unix computer has not proved a great success, although Motorola Ltd claims that 1,200 were shipped throughout Europe within the first nine months of its appearance on the market. Overall, export levels from the UK were up 20% over 1986, notable coups being cellular telephone equipment to the People’s Republic of China and electronic engine modules to Latin America. Plans for 1988 include the recently announced UKP40m scheme to manufacture 1M-bit memory chips at the company’s East Kilbride factory – and the company will be doing wafer fabrication as well as assembly – and within the communications sector, the initiation of a cellular research and development facility at the Stotfold base, and investment in both the joint venture for UK-wide paging with Mercury and provision of communications systems through National Mobile Radio. A fear of monopolies coming to dominate the post-1992 European market appears the only cloud on Motorola Ltd’s vibrant, alert horizon.

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