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|Type||Subsidiary of Motorola Solutions|
|Headquarters||Holtsville, New York|
|Key people||Kathy Paladino, CEO
Dr. Boris Metlitsky, SVP and General Manager Global Products Group
|Products||Barcode readers, wireless networking, mobile computers, RFID|
Symbol Technologies is a manufacturer and worldwide supplier of mobile data capture and delivery equipment. The company specializes in barcode scanners, mobile computers, RFID systems and Wireless LAN infrastructure. Symbol Technologies is a wholly owned subsidiary of Motorola Solutions, and headquartered in Holtsville, New York USA.
The company was co-founded in 1973 by Dr. Jerome Swartz and physicist Dr. Shelley A. Harrison. At that time, the company focused on handheld laser based scanning of bar codes. Under Dr. Swartz's leadership the company became a leader in handheld laser bar code scanning devices which are commonly seen at point of sale registers. The company focused heavily on the retail industry and began to get involved in inventory management. These activities typically required people to scan items where they are stored and as such needed to be mobile. Symbol began to make small computers that could store data scanned to take inventory counts remotely and then upload the information gathered to a host system. This was the rationale for the purchase of MSI - a mobile computer company that was headquartered in southern California. This acquisition was difficult and a culture shock for many of the company' engineers. A contingent of the core team was transferred to the New York facility.
The mobile computers being manufactured at the time relied on static memory (in this case SRAM) for execution space and general storage. SRAM was extremely expensive and the team determined that it would be an improvement to use a radio to allow the mobile computer to be unteathered but connected to the host system. A thin client architecture was adopted in conjunction with a spread spectrum radio network.
The Enterprise Mobility Management market was dominated by Symbol Technologies and Telxon, Inc. Most notably, these two companies serviced major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Kroger, Safeway, Federated and others.
A notable turning point occurred in 1994 with a competition for business at Kroger. Symbol Technologies and Telxon were operating radio networks in the 2.4 GHz ISM bands. IEEE 802.11 was not yet ratified, so Symbol and Telxon were free to define competing standards of communication at this frequency band. Symbol settled on frequency hopping as the most robust, agile and interference-tolerant approach to data communications while Telxon selected direct sequence technology which they felt afforded higher transfer speeds with adequate interference immunity. Kroger ordered a head-to-head comparison test. Ultimately and not decisively, Kroger chose Telxon. At about the same time, the IEEE decided to adopt the direct sequence approach in its IEEE 802.11b standard.
The ratification of IEEE 802.11b was a huge blow to the Symbol team which now had to reconfigure and engineer a direct sequence radio system. This was accomplished with great pains and IEEE 802.11b became a reality in the industrial and commercial markets far before the radios were available to the consumer market.
The addition of a radio to a mobile device was roughly estimated to have a real value of between $500 and $1000 per unit. This was paid by enterprise class customers that desperately needed this feature to accomplish their operations.
The Symbol team had a firm but temporary grip on the IEEE 802.11b market. Telxon was suffering from lower prices being pushed into the market for handheld computers and was treading on dangerous ground related to their ability to cover costs. In the meantime, Intel, Apple Inc. and Cisco were looking at the technology to see how they would use this to their commercial advantage. Cisco investigated the acquisition of various manufacturers of wireless gear to augment their commanding position in the wired infrastructure field. Cisco performed due diligence with both Symbol and Telxon, deciding to purchase the Aironet component of Telxon that designed and manufactured the radios. The Cisco purchase of Telxon's Aironet division marked the inflection point of the market moving from a specialized, esoteric market to a mass consumer and enterprise market.
In June 1998, Telxon rejected a hostile takeover bid of $668 million made by Symbol. The ensuing proxy battle lasted two years, and in December 2000 Symbol was able to complete the takeover at a much lower price of $465 million.
In 2004 Symbol acquired Matrics, helping the company to push further into the RFID field.
Notable Drivers and Accomplishments
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (March 2010)|
||This section contains weasel words: vague phrasing that often accompanies biased or unverifiable information. (August 2010)|
Dr. Jerome Swartz - an innovator and charismatic leader, drove the company forward on creative fronts. Often quoted for his "changing atoms to bits" discussion of how to illuminate a target with a laser, decode the physical return of the light and thus taking photons and making data available to the computer systems that they served. Swartz was dedicated to the company and the people. He often used his personal contacts to assist company associates to get the best possible medical care when diagnosed with life threatening diseases. Swartz was a prolific inventor, awarded dozens of patents, awards and recognitions. He is now supporting the development of Neuroscience research related to computational advancement through The Swartz Foundation. Swartz is an alumnus of Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute.
Dr. Fred Heiman - a former chief scientist for Intel, moved to Symbol as a friend of Jerry Swartz. Heiman was instrumental in developing the radio division of Symbol with a focus on making industry firsts. Among the most notable achievements were:
- First IP pager for WiFi networks
- First VoIp phone, circa 1998
- First VoIP dataphone - included voice, terminal emulation and bar code scanner in one device
- The wireless switch - concept to use thin access points controlled through Layer 2 (Ethernet) and Layer 3 (IP) by a remote switch; patents received. It is likely that all providers of wireless switch systems, including Aruba Networks and Cisco Systems infringe on this patent and their derivatives.
|This article's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (January 2013)|
Tomo Razmilovic, the Croatian-born former CEO of Symbol Technologies, Inc. has been wanted by the U.S. government for conspiracy to commit securities fraud and 13 counts of securities fraud, since May 2004. On December 23, 2009, a default judgement was entered against for his refusal to appear for a court-ordered deposition.[] He and 10 other former executives have been accused of carrying out accounting frauds between 1998 and 2003 where investors may have lost more than $200 million. Razmilovic remains in Sweden and has avoided interaction with United States legal proceedings claiming that he would not receive fair treatment in the US judicial system.[dead link] As of April 7, 2010, all of the other 10 former executives had settled charges with the SEC. Additionally, Symbol Technologies itself had to pay a penalty of $37 million.
- Motorola Completes Acquisition of Symbol Technologies
- http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/Symbol-Technologies-Inc-Company-History.html Funding Universe history of Symbol Technologies
- TELXON REJECTS LATEST OFFER FROM SYMBOL TECHNOLOGIES
- Telxon's Board Rejects Increased Symbol Bid
- Symbol Technologies Completes Acquisition of Telxon
- Symbol to Acquire Telxon in a Stock-for-Stock Transaction
- Telxon Stockholders Approve Merger with Symbol Technologies
- http://www.sec.gov/litigation/litreleases/2010/lr21480.htm SEC v. Symbol Technologies, Inc., et al., 04 CV 2276 (SJF)(EDNY)