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Motorola beats estimates

The chip and cellular phone power gets a boost from its digital cellular telephone sales, growth in its chip business, and an earlier restructuring.

Chip and cellular phone power Motorola today beat analysts' fourth quarter earnings expectations, as the company got a boost from its digital cellular telephone sales, growth in its chip business, and an earlier restructuring.

Motorola posted net profits of $159 million, or 26 cents a share, compared with profits of $393 million, or 65 cents, the previous year.

Although the performance was below year-ago figures, it beat analysts expectations of 23 cents a share, according to First Call.

Meanwhile, revenues rose slightly to $8.34 billion, compared with $8.28 billion in the year ago period.

Revenues for the year, however, fell to $29.4 billion, down 1 percent from a year ago. And the company posted a loss of $1 billion, or $1.61 a share, including charges, compared to profits of $1.2 billion, or $1.94 a share, a year ago.

Without the charges, the company would have posted year-end profits of $347 million, or 58 cents a share.

Meanwhile, the company's stock has been on an upward rise since mid-October, when it traded around $40 a share. Motorola shares closed at 70.8750 today, up 3.3750, and it briefly passed its 52-week high before settling back.

Motorola started to see its stock move after soundly beating analysts' third-quarter expectations. The company, at the time, also said it was beginning to see improvement in its business.

That marked a change from the company's condition three months prior. In June, the company announced it would cut 15,000 jobs--or 10 percent of its workforce. Motorola at the time was feeling the lingering effects from the Asia economic turmoil, missteps in the cellular telephone market, and a sluggish chip business.

Robert Growney, president and chief operating officer, said in a statement that the fourth quarter's operating results improved from the previous two quarters.

During the quarter, Motorola's cellular products segment posted a 7 percent increase in sales to $3.9 billion, and orders increased 13 percent, year-over-year.

Demand for digital products grew sharply, but demand for the older analog technology products fell significantly, the company said.

While sales in the semiconductor products segment fell from year ago figures, the company said it was encouraged by the sequential growth posted in the quarter.

Semiconductor revenues decreased 9 percent and orders fell 5 percent from year-ago figures, but rose 7 percent sequentially for both sales and orders.

Major markets that posted increases for the chips included networking, computing, and transportation. Decreases, however, were noted in the components, wireless, and consumer markets.