Motorola results stink, continue to weigh on Google

The company will apparently need more than its revived Razr franchise to turn itself around.

Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
Expertise Mobile, 5G, Big Tech, Social Media Credentials
  • SABEW Best in Business 2011 Award for Breaking News Coverage, Eddie Award in 2020 for 5G coverage, runner-up National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award for culture analysis.
Roger Cheng
2 min read
The Droid Razr HD. Josh Miller/CNET

Motorola Mobility continued its slide under Google, posting a wider loss amid a decline in sales in the third quarter.

The business is in full turnaround mode under CEO and ex-Googler Dennis Woodside, but for now, the results are ugly. The unit posted an operating loss of $527 million, with the vast majority of that loss coming from its embattled handset division. A year ago, the unit posted an operating loss of $41 million.

Excluding one-time items, Motorola posted an operating loss of $151 million.

Revenue, meanwhile, fell 14 percent to $2.58 billion. Unsurprisingly, the handset division was to blame.

The results were a part of Google's earnings report, which was released prematurely today and showed the company had missed revenue expectations.

Motorola's results ended up being one big reason why Google disappointed with its report, causing the stock to retreat nearly 10 percent today.

Motorola is just one of several once-powerful handset manufacturers struggling to stay afloat in the brutally competitive industry. Beyond Apple and Samsung Electronics, all of the other players are only seeing a slight profit to big losses.

Motorola, of course, is safely tucked into Google, and its losses aren't going to offset the search giant's massive profits. So, Motorola has a bit of time and flexibility, and doesn't have shareholders to answer to. But the results show that even with Google's support, Motorola has a long way to go to turning itself around.

Google has been working to shave the fat from Motorola, eliminating jobs and side projects and focusing on fewer devices. The company said today it hired 1,807 workers for Google, but eliminated 2,865 jobs at Motorola. Google recorded $349 million in charges related to the restructuring and job cuts.

Motorola has largely been propped up by the support of Verizon Wireless, which continues to push the Droid Razr franchise of smartphones. But it's increasingly clear that one successful line of devices isn't enough to get the unit back in the black.

First Look
Watch this: Motorola Droid Razr HD