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

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capabilities of mobile devices with the division’s home-oriented businesses of making set-top boxes, cable, and satellite infrastructure equipment. It also is worth noting that Motorola got its set-top box business in 2000, through its $17-billion acquisition of Horsham, PA-based General Instrument, which developed its set-top boxes at a facility in San Diego that Motorola continues to operate today.

“This notion of cloud computing is so real,” Jha adds. “It’s a huge trend and it is fundamentally important. Yet there also is this notion of a ‘home cloud’ that could be your cloud-within-the-cloud.” He suggests the home cloud could become the repository of all the information, records, and digital media entertainment a family needs, with security and privacy protections serving as a buffer with the more encompassing cloud represented by Amazon web services and other general cloud computing offerings.

Jha came to San Diego at least two decades ago from the GEC Hirst Research Labs in London (after getting his doctorate in electronic and electrical engineering from Scotland’s University of Strathclyde), and worked for mixed-signal chip developer Brooktree before joining Qualcomm in 1994. He became a tour-de-force at the San Diego wireless giant, rising from senior engineer at Qualcomm VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) to vice president of engineering, and he led the formation of Qualcomm Technologies and Ventures in 2002. He became president of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies in 2003, and was named the company’s COO in 2006.

Jha joined Motorola in August 2008. In addition to planning the corporate spinout and strategy for Motorola Mobility, he has overseen development of a successful series of smartphones, including the original Droid by Motorola, Cliq, and Droid X.

Although Jha moved to Chicago, his family remained in San Diego, where he returns to spend most weekends. A few months after he arrived, the Windy City suffered what he calls “the worst Chicago winter in 40 years.” During his talk, Jha joked that during that dreary time, “I was telling people about moving the company, and I said, ‘I’m a fair man, I’ll give my team three choices: Central San Diego, Northern San Diego, and Southern San Diego.’ “

Of course, that was just what the hometown audience wanted to hear. They roared with laughter.

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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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