Motorola boss dreaming of a merger?

Motorola boss dreaming of a merger?Motorola boss Sanjay Jha reckons hardware-software company mashups like Palm's acquisition by HP and Nokia's partnership with Microsoft are likely to become increasingly common in the future.

Jha also warned that Motorola's decline from its dominant position five or six years ago should serve as a warning to the likes of Apple of how quickly things can change.

We've already referred to comments made by Jha about smartphones vs tablets from a recent Fortune interview, but that was the only interesting remarks the Moto boss had to make.

Speaking about the mobile industry in general, Jha said we are clearly entering a period of consolidation – as evidenced by the HP-Palm and Nokia-Microsoft deals.

“I’m not convinced that handset manufacturers acquiring other manufacturers is the best way for value to be created for shareholders,” Jha said, “Consolidation across content manufacturers and hardware and software manufacturers – I see a bunch of different ways for this consolidation to occur, to create shareholder value and create different structures to the industry.”

Jha added that Motorola wouldn't be averse to being part of such an arrangement itself – even if it meant it wouldn't be able to remain an independent company. “There are lots of opportunities for us to combine different resources and create more shareholder value,” he said.

As for Apple, Jha certainly didn't go as far as to predict troubled times ahead for the Cupertino company, but did argue that it simply wasn't possible to go from a minority player offering an innovative alternative to one of the biggest forces in the industry came without some changes to how business was done and decisions were made.

“I’m loath to comment on vulnerabilities of a company that has been incredibly successful in delivering world-class products,” Jha said.

“On the other hand, I would say that scale and innovation very often don’t mix. Defence of market share and other defensive actions very often set in, and middle management begins to drive the culture and strategy of a company.

“I’m certain the folks at Apple are very cognisant and are prepared to make sure that doesn’t occur. But not speaking about Apple in particular, the scale that comes with that level of success is very often the beginning of a decline.”

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