Inside Zebra’s acquisition of Motorola Solutions’ Enterprise Business

Company executive discusses the impact of the purchase on both companies


Gerskovich: We are known a lot in both of those areas. In the ID card business, for instance, we were the first and I still think the only company that sells ID card printers that also encode passive RFID in the 900-megahertz band, which is the more common one used in the supply chain. That’s an example of kind of where we’re able to leverage something in another area like RFID technology into that business. The Motorola assets, which besides their mobile handheld computers, also includes their industry leading passive RFID reader business and a wireless LAN business. On the deeper side, we have the Zebra Zatar software platform which is designed to build Internet of Things (IoT) applications. We think that by bringing all of these assets together, we can really give new kinds of solutions that would have been very difficult to build just a few years ago. The combination of smartphone technology, RFID and IoT we believe will be transformational for security systems. We have a range of technologies that can locate, identify and tell the condition of assets – whether fixed or on the move – and as part of that, we also have some new technologies like iBeacon technology which we’ve demonstrated in a number of applications both in retail and healthcare that can become part of new IoT solutions.

SIW: How do you plan to physically integrate the two companies together?

Gerskovich: It can take as long as nine months for the deal to close depending on government approvals, although we’re hopeful for it to close sooner than that. We believe that, as in any deal of this magnitude, integration issues will take a lot of careful time and attention from both companies’ management. It is made somewhat easier by the fact that both companies headquarters are in the same general area, they’re both in the Chicago suburbs and we’ve sold to common customer bases for many years. We’re coming together with more knowledge about each other and the way we go to market than two companies would normally have. We believe that that will help make the process simpler. Our goal will really be to leverage the strength of each company in a complementary way. While we’re very overlapped in terms of the way we go to market, there are some differences in some vertical markets and some regions and we hope to really benefit each other in that way where we can get greater coverage in different vertical markets and geographies as we go forward.

SIW: Have you had any talks about your branding strategy moving forward?

Gerskovich: As part of this acquisition, we are in agreement that we will be transitioning away from the Motorola brand for the products we’re acquiring. Having said that, we haven’t decided yet on the long-term branding strategy. That’s going to be one of the things we’re going to be working on over the next several months.

SIW: Will this acquisition boost your performance in or help you enter vertical markets that you previously were not a big part of?

Gerskovich: I think there are two aspects to our vertical expansion. One is the fact that there are some verticals today where one company is a little bit stronger, so I think that will help bring the other side into those vertical markets. Secondarily, we will have the wherewithal to do more market development in new verticals. We do believe that vertical market expansion will be an important part of our growth strategy going forward.