Motorola's $271M Q1 loss drags on Google's results

The mobile device maker continues to struggle, but executives have hinted at "phenomenal" products to come.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
2 min read
The Motorola Droid Razr Maxx. CNET
Google's Motorola business continues to struggle in the competitive mobile market, posting a loss of $271 million in the first quarter and hurting results at its parent company.

Excluding items, Motorola lost $179 million.

In the year-ago period, Motorola's last report as an independent company, the mobile-devices and TV set-top box manufacturer posted a loss of $86 million. In the fourth quarter of 2012, Motorola's loss totaled $353 million.

Its revenue, meanwhile, came in at $1.02 billion, down from $3.08 billion in the year-earlier period and from $1.51 billion in the fourth quarter. BGC analyst Colin Gillis had estimated first-quarter sales of $1.37 billion for Motorola, which he called "weak" in a note earlier this week.

Results of late have been impacted 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 in 2001 reached a deal to buy Motorola for $12.5 billion, but the combined company has yet to release any blockbuster products that have turned Motorola's fortunes around. Motorola has struggled to compete with Apple and Samsung, which dominates the Android market, and its financial results have reflected the tough times. Google's quarterly numbers, in turn, have been hurt by Motorola since the acquisition closed in May of last year.

Google has warned in the past that Motorola's results will be "variable" as the company restructures itself and readies new products. Google said a couple of months ago that it was working through a product pipeline of 12 to 18 months that it inherited from the acquisition. The combined company is rumored to be building an X Phone with cutting-edge features. Some speculation pegs the phone's announcement to the Google I/O conference next month.

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt earlier this week called Motorola's new products "phenomenal" and noted that while competition in the mobile market is tough, people should wait to see the "very, very impressive" products Motorola is developing.

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