Wireless Goes Haywire At Motorola

Faulty switches, a tarnished reputation--how bad can it get?

Wireless technology is supposed to be Motorola Inc.'s strong suit. But lately the deck seems to be stacked against the electronics giant. Upstarts have beaten it to market--by years--with new digital phones. And its transmission equipment for digital-cellular networks has been plagued by bugs. With its once-indomitable paging business shrinking and formidable competition squeezing its semiconductor division, it's unclear what sector the $30 billion company can depend on for growth. Wails one Motorola executive: "It's the freaking Titanic over here."

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