Motorola's financial woes continue

Plagued by sluggish sales, handset maker Motorola is hoping a management shake-up may turn around the firm's financial picture. The company yesterday revised its earnings estimates for first quarter citing lower-than-anticipated sales and operating earnings for the company's mobile devices division. Specifically, Motorola says first-quarter sales will be in the range of $9.2 billion to $9.3 billion, down from its January forecast of sales in the $10.4 billion to $10.6 billion range.

To help turn around the ailing firm, Motorola CEO Ed Zander (who recently canceled his planned appearance at next week's CTIA conference) put together a new top management team. Greg Brown, formerly president of the company's networks and enterprise business has been promoted to president and COO. In addition, current CFO and executive vice president David Devonshire will retire April 1 and be replaced by Thomas Meredith. 

Motorola, however, continues to assert its belief that its mobile device business will gradually recover in the second half of the year and be profitable for the full year. The company says it will accomplish this through a series of steps that includes finding a more cost-competitive silicon strategy, shifting its marketing approach and simplifying its platform and product portfolio. Analysts, however, say that what the company really needs is more strong-selling handsets like the ground-breaking RAZR. One lingering question is whether or not Motorola will purchase Palm Inc., as has been rumored over the past few days, and what impact that potential acquisition would have on the company's overall financial picture.

For more:
- see this press release
- and this New York Times story

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