Is Motorola A Bit Too Patient?

While it waits for long-term bets to pay off, profits erode

For on-the-go cellular phone users, few things are more annoying than losing a connection in the middle of a call. But for global market leader Motorola Inc., lost calls are more than an annoyance: AirTouch Communications Inc. was supposed to have a sophisticated multimillion dollar digital-cellular system from Motorola up and running in Los Angeles by early 1995. But with technical problems still causing lines to go dead, AirTouch won't put customers on the system--or finish paying Motorola--until the kinks are cleared up. "We are being finicky," says spokeswoman Amy Damianakes. "We want it to be as good as the existing analog service or better."

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