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.

For more
Recent Moto headlines:

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:46:15 PM
re: Moto Mobility Had a Blue Christmas

You saw some headlines late Friday asking whether Google is buying white elephant. I like Mike Genovese (of MKM Partners)'s take better -- his report this morning asks, "How hard did they really try?"

His guess is that Motorola underspent on holiday marketing, due to the pending acquisition, and that they worked to clear the channel of feature phones.

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