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Devices Drag Down Moto

Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) forecast a loss for the first quarter of this year as the company released its fourth quarter earnings today, because improvements in the mobile devices business division are taking longer than expected. (See Moto Reports Q4.)

The company said it expected a loss of $0.05 to $0.07 per share for the first quarter of 2008.

"The recovery in mobile devices will take longer than expected and there is a lot more work to be done," stated CEO Greg Brown in a press release. "Our primary focus is on improving profitability and enhancing our product portfolio in this business."

Motorola's mobile devices revenues in the fourth quarter of 2007 were down 38 percent to $4.8 billion, compared to the same quarter last year. The division recorded an operating loss of $388 million in the fourth quarter, compared to operating earnings of $341 million in the same quarter last year.

For the full-year 2007, Motorola reported mobile devices revenues of $19 billion, which is down 33 percent compared to 2006. The device business made an operating loss of $1.2 billion in 2007, compared to operating earnings of $2.7 billion in 2006.

Motorola shipped 40.9 million handsets in the fourth quarter. (See Moto Losing Ground.)

But today's results were not all bad news for the company. Motorola posted better results in its home and networks mobility and enterprise mobility divisions.

Revenues in the home and networks mobility division were up 11 percent to $2.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007, compared to the same quarter last year. Operating earnings decreased to $192 million compared to operating earnings of $223 million in the same quarter last year.

In enterprise mobility, revenues were up 25 percent to $2.1 billion, compared to the same quarter last year, driven by sales from the Symbol business that Motorola acquired in early 2007. Operating earnings increased to $451 million compared to operating earnings of $323 million in the same quarter last year. (See Motorola Confirms Symbol Buyout and Moto's Symbolic Convergence.)

Overall, Motorola reported full-year revenues of $36.6 billion and a net loss of $0.02 per share.

CEO Brown said that the company is focused on "aggressively rationalizing the company's cost structure and working to get mobile devices back on track."

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

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