No more leftovers
When public safety radio was in its infancy, in the ’20s and ’30s, Link Radio and Radio Engineering Laboratories (REL) were among the names of leading manufacturers.
After World War II, Motorola came to dominate. REL pursued other business, and Link Radio went out of business. DuMont, RCA and General Electric were among the post-war challengers, with GE lasting the longest. Ericsson took over GE’s mobile radio and cellular telephone business, and then sold the mobile radio business to Com-Net Ericsson.
Com-Net has breathed life into the erstwhile challenger, as evidenced by contracting to replace Motorola as the supplier of a statewide law enforcement radio system in Florida. In its previous Ericsson incarnation, maybe the company didn’t give priority to winning government contracts, or maybe it just went about it in a way that wouldn’t incense Motorola (or maybe both). Neither can be said about Com-Net Ericsson.
Florida is going to let Com-Net Ericsson scrap the partially completed Motorola system and install another one.
Motorola disputes the award of the contract and has filed lawsuits to prevent the state from following through with Com-Net Ericsson.
The details of Motorola’s complaint and how Com-Net Ericsson counters Motorola’s allegations run to many pages. Know what? If I were to expound on those details in this column, it would:
a) take too long to read.
b) look as though I’m taking sides.
c) lead me into a lengthy series of exchanges with representatives inside and outside of Motorola and Com-Net Ericsson to document and defend every point, large and small.
I’ve been there already, and maybe I’ll go there again, but not in this small space.
Interestingly, some people in the industry tell me that Com-Net first approached Motorola about buying its mobile radio business. I’ve also been told that former CIA employees have been hired to use their expertise to compile personal dossiers on competitors’ employees to use for whatever advantage might be possible. And I also heard that Florida Governor Jeb Bush took a call late in the contract process that left him, ah, displeased.
We want the state of Florida to have the communications system that it needs. If it takes court involvement to sort out how the state should reach that goal – fine.
Meanwhile, competition for government radio contracts is returning to a level that injects some intensity and drama into the industry. Those elements were absent when the challengers seemed to be content with leftovers.