Motorola Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ed Zander Wednesday downplayed the significance of a component problem that caused two U.S. mobile operators to stop selling its popular Razr handset model for several days.
"People want to buy Razrs and they're backlogged in a lot of these stores in the U.S., but we're back," Zander said at a press briefing in Beijing.
Last week, two U.S. carriers, T-Mobile USA Inc. and Cingular Wireless LLC, suspended sales of Razr handsets at the request of Motorola, which had uncovered a problem with one of the components used in the handset, Zander said. He declined to disclose the component.
The faulty component, which was used in GSM (Global Systems for Mobile Communications) versions of the Razr, was found to sometimes disconnect calls, power down and then automatically restart the handset, Motorola said last week.
That problem was quickly resolved by Motorola and the Razr is once again shipping to the two operators, Zander said. "The impact on the consumer was very minimal because we caught it in time," he said, noting that most of the affected handsets were found in the operator's inventory.
The problem will not have a material impact on Motorola's results for the current quarter, Zander said, noting his surprise at the amount of attention that the problem received in the media.
"It got an amazing amount of press, and maybe rightfully so," Zander said. "But it wasn't like, gosh, it was a major problem."
Calling the component issue "unfortunate," Zander credited Motorola and an improved supply chain with quickly realizing that a problem existed. "Three years ago, we probably wouldn't have known that we had a problem until we'd shipped a zillion of them six months from now," he said.