Motorola's $353M Q4 loss weighs on Google results

The mobile device maker continues to struggle with its turnaround.

The Motorola Razr HD. CNET

Google's Motorola unit continues to struggle, posting a loss of $353 million in the fourth quarter and besmirching the Internet giant's other profitable results.

Excluding one-time items, the unit posted a loss of $152 million.

A year ago, when Motorola was still an independent company, it posted a net loss of $80 million and an adjusted profit of $61 million.

Its revenue, meanwhile, came in at $1.51 billion down from $3.4 billion a year ago.

The results were affected by Google's decision in December to sell the home set-top box portion of Motorola to Arris Group for $2.35 billion in cash and stock. As a result of the planned sale, Google moved the results to its discontinued business section.

Google Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette warned that results from Motorola would continue to be "variable" as it works through its restructuring and continues to write down intangible assets. Google is still working through a product pipeline of 12 to 18 months that it inherited from the acquisition.

"It's just the nature of the business when you're reinventing the business," he said.

Google is in the midst of turning the business around under former-Google executive Dennis Woodside. Woodside has cut staff and different businesses as it seeks to streamline the operation to focus on a few smartphones.

Google CEO Larry Page said it is still early days for the business, but expressed excitement over the way the leadership team is approaching product development.

Motorola continues to be one of many handset manufacturers that are struggling to turn a profit on smartphones. Apple and Samsung Electronics are the only companies in the sector that can claim to be successful, with every other player scrambling for the rest of the scraps.

Pichette said that Google "isn't in the business of losing money with Motorola," and expects to turn a profit with the unit eventually.

Even the debut of several new phones, from the Droid Razr HD to the Droid Razr M, for Verizon Wireless in the U.S. and other carriers overseas haven't had much of a positive impact.

Updated at 1:58 pm PT: to include additional comments from Google executives.

 

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