Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha Talks Cloud Computing Strategy—and Eyes Bringing Mobile Division to San Diego

Sanjay Jha was lured from Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) to serve as co-CEO of Schaumburg, IL-based Motorola (NYSE: MOT) and the CEO of the nearby Motorola Mobility division, which includes mobile handsets, wireless accessories, and home digital media devices. Now there’s a chance the wireless industry’s prodigious son might return to San Diego—and bring the headquarters of Motorola Mobility with him.

Motorola Mobility is the division that is set to become an independent company by the first quarter of 2011, and Jha says he plans to decide before the end of this year whether to put the new corporate headquarters in Austin, TX, Silicon Valley, or San Diego. Jha’s family still lives in San Diego, and he has retained ties here. So local interest in his pending decision is high, and there was a good turnout when he appeared as a guest speaker this morning at a regular meeting of the San Diego Venture Group.

Sanjay JhaJha was forthright from the outset, saying “the days of us living off the fumes of the Razor are gone” and that Motorola Mobility had to develop a new strategy to anticipate the coming era of mobile data.

The Motorola executive estimates that today just 5 to 8 percent of U.S. mobile users are consuming 60 to 70 percent of the mobile data traffic. But he also notes that smartphones now account for 45 percent of all U.S. cell phone sales—and that share will be 60 to 65 percent by the end of the year. He says the accelerating popularity of smartphones and less costly data plans will catalyze widespread use of mobile data, which in turn will engender far greater use of mobile video and multimedia offerings.

Jha says that would send mobile data usage soaring—and that there is not enough wireless spectrum available for the time when the average mobile customer is using 3 gigabytes a month.

As a result, Jha says he views the home as the place where mobile users will transfer video, multimedia, and other large data files from their wireline Internet service to their wireless devices. He sees a migration in the capabilities of Motorola’s cable TV set-top box, which is the other major business he oversees, that will make it more of a data center and “mini-cloud” for managing multiple devices and data downloading.

“That was the strategic reason we put these two businesses together,” Jha says. Under Jha, Motorola Mobility has been integrating the … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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