Google to cut 20% of Motorola staff, reposition

PLUS: Search giant buys Frommers travel guides.

Google says it will cut 20% or around 4000 jobs at recent acquisition Motorola, and close 94 or around a third of the cellphone maker's offices (which include a New Zealand outpost).

Motorola split in two in 2011. 

Google bought the cellphone half of the business, Motorola Mobility, for $US12.5 billion in a deal that closed in May this year.

Pundits saw the purchase driven by Google's desire to obtain Motorola's 17,000 patents - a valuable weapon in the worldwide, high-stakes patent war between phone makers using Google Android software (including Samsung) and iPhone maker Apple.

However, Google will also use Motorola smartphones and tablets to showcase its Android software, and to try and nudge mobile partners in the same direction.

Today, the company said it would re-focus Motorola on the high-end market, leaving the mid-price and budget segments to others.

Motorola, which invented the cellphone and released the first commercial model in 1973, once dominated the market.

After being eclipsed by Nokia, it made a brief comeback in the mid 2000s with its ultrathin flip-phone Razr series before being steamrolled by iPhone and Android.

Motorola Mobility has dipped into the red in 14 of its 16 quarters and lost $US233 million during its first six weeks under Google ownership.

Google buys Frommers
Separately, Google said it was buying travel guide maker Frommers in a deal said to be worth $US23 million. The deal follows Google's purchase of restuarant guide Zagat last year for around $US151 million.

The deal will bolster the search giant's presence in the travel segment, where rival Microsoft has been seeking to serve up more detailed information, including specific travel deals, through its Bing service (at least in the US).

However, it could raise eyebrows among independent travel publishers jostling in the Google Ad Words market.