Surprise! Motorola posts profit; Isn't unraveling as handset sales crater

Motorola posted a small profit excluding charges--a small victory, but enough to top Wall Street estimates calling for a loss of 3 cents a share. The company's enterprise and networking business carried the quarter.

Motorola posted a small profit excluding charges--a small victory, but enough to top Wall Street estimates calling for a loss of 3 cents a share. The company's enterprise and networking business carried the quarter.

If you're Motorola you'll take what you can get. The company reported second quarter earnings of $4 million, or nil a share (statement). However, that earnings tally includes charges of 2 cents a share. Back that charge out and you get Motorola beating estimates by 5 cents a share. Revenue was $8.1 billion in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, Motorola shipped 28.1 million handsets to stay the No. 3 spot in market share. Motorola also said it will report earnings of nil a share to 2 cents a share in the third quarter and earnings excluding charges of 6 cents a share to 8 cents a share.

Motorola, which is planning to split itself up, was fueled by its home and networks division and enterprise systems in the quarter. The home and networks mobility unit had sales of $2.7 billion, up 7 percent from a year ago with operating earnings of $245 million. The division features cable modems and set-top boxes.

The enterprise unit had revenue of $2 billion, up 6 percent from a year ago, with operating earnings of $377 million. The enterprise unite includes mobile networking systems for companies and public safety departments.

The good news: Those two aforementioned units will be together when Motorola splits itself up. The handset division, which will become its own company, still had a tough slog. Sales in the second quarter were $3.3 billion, down 22 percent from a year ago, with an operating loss of $346 million.

These results will inevitably lead to questions about whether Motorola has turned the corner. The short answer: The company hasn't turned anything around yet, but the second quarter is a small win for Motorola. And once the company ditches the handset unit it'll look much stronger.

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