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Motorola: The End of an Error

The Razr maker will likely sell or spin off its cell-phone division, and in the meantime, is replacing the unit’s current head with CEO Greg Brown
The MotoROKR U9 mobile phone and music player on display at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The MotoROKR U9 mobile phone and music player on display at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

For connoisseurs of American electronics, Jan. 31 marks what may become the end of a technology icon. Motorola (MOT), the largest and most successful cell-phone manufacturer in the U.S., announced it's considering separating the cell-phone division from the rest of its businesses, possibly through a sale.

The company had to say there's no assurance a transaction will occur, but the statement from recently appointed Chief Executive Greg Brown reads like a fait accompli. "We are exploring ways in which our mobile devices business can accelerate its recovery and retain and attract talent while enabling our shareholders to realize the value of this great franchise," Brown said.