Earnings reports

Moto Mobility Had a Blue Christmas

Motorola Mobility LLC disappointed investors Friday, announcing that its fourth-quarter revenues were around $3.4 billion, as opposed to the $3.9 billion analysts were expecting.

Motorola also said it would report "modest" non-GAAP profitability, whereas analysts were expecting non-GAAP earnings of $0.41 per share.

The company did ship 5.3 million smartphones in the quarter, up from 4.9 million in the previous year's fourth quarter. But it shipped fewer handsets overall: 10.5 million, compared with 11.3 million a year earlier.

Why this matters
It's interesting that Motorola spelled out legal costs as one reason for the weakness in profits. It seems as if patent litigation is a major part of any smartphone player's business these days, and apparently, those costs are starting to add up. The company should soon have the bankroll of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) to help with those costs.

Of course, Motorola has a lot of other things going on. Intensified competition in smartphones was another reason the company cited for Friday's announcement, and Motorola already announced a layoff of 800 in October.

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— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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