As Motorola, Inc.
) continues sliding into irrelevance in the mobile phone industry, it could slip to number four in the global cellphone rankings. After Korean giant Samsung Electronics handily beat Motorola in 2007 for the number two spot, and has held it ever since, Korean company LG is poised to overtake the third spot
from the American cellphone icon later this year.
LG has come on strong in recent years, with hits like the LG Chocolate, a phone that has sold 18 million units since its debut a few years ago. LG also has a huge fan in the U.S. in the form of No. 2 cellular carrier Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications, Inc.
) and Vodafone (NYSE: VOD). So, the soon-to-be top-three mobile phone lineup for global sales include a Finnish company and two South Korean companies. Motorola, poised for fourth place soon, would be followed by Sweden's Sony Ericsson.
Although Motorola has tumbled in recent years and is in the worse shape it could possibly be in, LG's rise hasn't been because of its competitor's stumbles. LG and Samsung both have made massive gains with high-end handsets, slick marketing and awesome designs in recent years, and have propelled themselves on their own merits over and above the competition.
All this without having a blockbuster like Motorola's RAZR, which sold 50 million units and still sells on store shelves today. As Motorola knew back in 2005, but seems to have forgotten today, design is where it's at and LG and Samsung both have it right now. As a result, Motorola seems to continue sliding down the pole of handset makers that just can't seem to compete any longer like they once did. I doubt newer CEO Greg Brown can fix that, but he may not have to