Motorola Mobility sees first quarter loss ahead amid Verizon iPhone, Bionic arrival

Summary:Motorola Mobility made its earnings debut with solid fourth quarter results, but projected a loss for the first quarter.

Motorola Mobility made its earnings debut with solid fourth quarter results, but projected a loss for the first quarter.

The company, the wireless device half of what used to be Motorola, reported fourth quarter earnings of $80 million, or 27 cents a share, on revenue of $3.4 billion, up 21 percent from a year ago. Non-GAAP earnings were $108 million, or 37 cents a share.

For 2010, Motorola Mobility reported a loss of 29 cents a share on revenue of $11.5 billion. That tally is much better than 2009's loss of $4.56 a share.

While those results are solid, Motorola Mobility projected a first quarter loss of $26 million to $62 million, or 9 cents a share to 21 cents a share. Operating results will be roughly break even, which was in line with estimates.

The loss isn't that much of a surprise given Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha has alluded to a rocky first quarter. The company is launching its 4G devices---such as the Bionic---late in the first quarter at Verizon Wireless. In addition, Motorola Mobility's Droid devices will battle for shelf space as Verizon rolls out the iPhone. In a statement, Jha said "we are well positioned to grow, and further improve our financial results in 2011."

By the numbers:

  • Mobile device revenue in the fourth quarter was $2.4 billion, up 33 percent from a year ago. Operating earnings were $72 million for the mobile device business.
  • The company shipped 4.9 million smartphones for the fourth quarter and 13.7 million for 2010.
  • Total handset shipments were 11.3 million for the fourth quarter and 37.3 million in 2010.
  • Home revenue, which includes cable set-top boxes, was $1 billion, up 1 percent from a year ago. Operating earnings were $54 million in the fourth quarter.

Related:

Topics: Mobility, Verizon, Wi-Fi

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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