FT. WORTH, TX -- Google's Motorola Mobility business unit today announced plans to close its factory here by year-end, putting 700 employees out of work. The company previously announced it would sell the handset business to Lenovo.
The 480,000 sq. ft. factory opened a year ago to much media fanfare, and at its peak employed 3,800 workers. Then-Motorola chief executive Dennis Woodside went so far as to predict the plant would change the scope of the supplier-customer relationship, adding, "Consumers want to design their own devices," Woodside said. "We'll pursue that theme over time in some interesting directions."
Demand for the Motorola devices could not compete with that of Apple and others, however, with analysts estimating that the plant made roughly 75,000 units of the company's Moto-X smartphone a week, while market leader Apple was moving some 2.16 million iPhone 5 devices per week.
In January, Lenovo announced plans to acquire the Motorola Mobility smartphone business from Google for $2.91 billion.
A Motorola spokesperson said the decision to close the plant was not tied to the Lenovo deal, but rather the inability of the company to achieve economies of scale due to the sluggish demand for its phones.