Motorola to eliminate 2,600 jobs

Struggling handset maker will take a $104 million pretax charge in the first quarter of 2008 to cover severance costs, according to a Thursday SEC filing.

Ouch.

Motorola took another hit Thursday in announcing, through a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, that it will lay off 2,600 employees. As a result, it will take a $104 million pretax charge in the first quarter of the year for severance costs.

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Motorola

The $104 million is partially offset by "$9 million of reversals for accruals from prior periods that are no longer needed," according to the filing (thanks Silicon Alley Insider). "All three of the company's business segments, as well as various corporate functions, are impacted by these plans."

Thursday's news brings to about 10,000 the number of employees the company has eliminated since early 2007, according to The Wall Street Journal. The layoffs come amid a barrage of headlines documenting the recent death spiral of the company's cell phone business.

Motorola has seen its handset market share plummet, mostly due to a lack of compelling new products. In January, amid pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn, the company said it would consider separating its handset business from the rest of the company in an effort to increase shareholder value and revive the struggling business. Late last month it officially announced its plan to break the company into two publicly traded entities.

This week's CTIA wireless industry trade show could have been a place for Motorola to show that it's bouncing back, by my colleague Charles Cooper noted that the "dearth of interesting product news out of Motorola" at the show "underscores its current plight."

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