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Motorola remakes Mac unit

Covetous of market share in Mac OS-compatibles and embedded systems, Motorola Computer Group is set to announce a significant reorganization.

Motorola Computer Group (MCG) is set to announce Monday a significant reorganization that will help it focus on the Mac OS-compatible and embedded systems markets.

Motorola (MOT) says the MCG will be divided into two divisions that will have separate profit and loss responsibilities. The divisions will also have their own marketing, engineering, finance, sales, and human resources personnel.

The changes appear to be a vote of confidence for the Mac clone market. The creation of a division focused on selling Mac-compatible desktops and possibly even notebooks could even help fuel the growth of the Mac OS. (See related story)

"These new divisions within MCG will allow us to focus our product activities in markets where MCG continues to have proven leadership, specifically in the embedded and Mac-compatible systems markets," said Joe Guglielmi, MCG vice president and general manager, in a written statement. He noted that the new organizational structure will allow Motorola to invest in new business opportunities while increasing its use of technologies such as the PowerPC line of RISC processors.

The commercial products division, headed by vice president and general manager Dennis Schneider, will focus on the "massive opportunity for Mac compatibles, the pent-up industry demand for portable products and the worldwide opportunity for AIX servers," the company said.

Of particular interest is the creation of a the mobile computing business unit that will be responsible for new families of mobile and portable products. The unit is separate from the new desktop business unit, which will be responsible for the StarMax line of Mac-compatible systems.

Motorola could be in position to take advantage of pent-up demand for Mac notebooks. Apple's PowerBooks have been in short supply ever since a series of recalls last year of its 5300 series notebooks. The recently introduced 1400 series of notebooks seem to be better built, but supply is still limited. A clone vendor could easily make inroads into the only market still inhabited solely by Apple.

Apart from having its interest in developing a Mac-compatible notebook, the company has previously said it is looking into the market for handheld devices that run Windows CE--a low-fat version of Windows 95--and possibly the development of a device for surfing the Net.

Last year, Motorola discontinued its Envoy and Marco handheld computers because of weak sales. Windows CE, however, means handhelds could reach a larger market because it is based on a commonly used operating system.

In addition, the newly created technical products division will have a business unit devoted to manufacturing and sales of Mac OS motherboards. Other duties will include sales and manufacturing of Motorola's embedded board lines and technical systems product lines for the telecommunications market.