OK, OK, calm down people, yes it is another buyout, yes it is real and yes we’re going to give you the lowdown on what we think right here!
As the dust has barely settled on the Psion buyout by Motorola Solutions, they go and get bought themselves by Zebra. Yep the same Zebra as who make those portable printers seem to have mustered up $3.5B to buy what seems like a slightly over priced Motorola Solutions. We’ve all lived through many buyouts ourselves, heck who hasn’t in IT these days so instead of putting our little rugged necks on the block for a change we instead went and talked to a whole bunch of people, customers, partners, software people, managers etc etc about what this means to them and this is mostly what came back:
1. Great so I have another brand that won’t be competing for my business?
It seems a lot of feedback came about this and the following comment summed it up best:
“With less players in the field, choice goes down, competition goes down and customers tend to lose out when this scenario happens. why will this be different?”
2. Eyes fall inwards, as the shake up continues
“We’re fed-up of the glossy emails that come from a-top and the increased visits from account managers scared for their jobs. When buy-outs happen like this there’s disruption and lots of it. We’re not dumb, we all know what happens, redundancies and cost saving come first so there’s no point saying there will be no disruption, just say there will be and get on with it!!”
3. What’s going on?
“What we hate the most is that no-one ever knows what’s truly going on during these matters and can ever give us a clear roadmap of the merger and then the products. It puts our business at risk not knowing. We like to work with smaller, niche providers as we have found them to be typically more trustworthy, transparent and not tied in to brands in any way and these guys seem to be increasingly left out. As these manufacturers buy each other out, we’ll be turning to resellers who can be honest with us and maintain the choice for us.”
4. Zebra MC65 or Motorola MZ320?
“Does the Zebra brand really work in the rugged mobile PDA/Tablet world. I ‘m not going to buy a Zebra MC65 or a Motorola MZ320. Managing these 2 brands will be a real handful. Not a job for the faint hearted is it worth staying clear until it’s sorted out.”
5. Motorola don’t have a printer buddy!
“So is this about Motorola needing a printer division? With Honeywell buying Intermec they got a mobile printer dept which could be perceived as a risk by Moto and Zebra. Despite it being a buyout, these things are rarely done without a lot of “merging” so this could have been a fundamental reason to buddy up.”
6. I like Zebra but I don’t like Motorola what does this mean to my 5 year commitment on PDA’s?
Again this is a big issue for some. What if you bought Zebra printers but run them with say Pidion or Getac Rugged PDA’s? How will this work now and on 5 years time?
“We’re already seeing Motorola castrate other brands from their Rho-Mobile product suite, I can see Zebra printers favouring their own brand of PDA’s here, this type of thing never seems to work out for the end user does it?”
7. I bought Psion about a year ago. Where does this leave me?
“I’m just fed-up of all the change and the lack of consistent service. At least Samsung and Apple won’t get bought out!”
8. Is it good business?
“I would just like to know why? What’s the point and are we just seeing the same old buying out panic buying to become the biggest as we saw in the IT world 20 years ago? I can’t work out why and how this benefits the customers at all.”
9. Culture clash
“We’ve been Psion, Symbol, Zebra and Motorola customers in the past and my question is that surely you can’t merge these very different companies together in such short time and ever hope for something good to come out of it. At the very least it will take years to merge the cultures and allow customers to get comfortable with new people, processes and products.”
10. Whats the point?
“You can see the point of Facebook buying a photo or video company and you can see why Microsoft might buy a security/Anti virus company for example as they enrich a core business and help it inch forward, dealing with specific strategic issues. However my concern is whether this is a big flexing of muscle situation here. How does this benefit anyone other than the shareholders and top level executives?”
There were a few more but they overlapped a little bit and please understand that with some of the customers above being annoyed and smaller in their nature, I also had to edit these a little bit but the message is still left clear in each comment.
To be honest there’s not much else we could add. maybe its selfish to say but we don’t like mergers and buyouts here, largely for the same or similar reasons as above so our morale of the story is to keep your options open, find great people to work with and keep them close. There’s plenty of options out there when you look!