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CEO chats up spinoff as Motorola posts nightmarish quarter

Chris Ziegler

Motorola's recognized that its mobile division's been in a train-wreck status for a little while now, yet somehow, losses continue to widen at the world's number three (for the moment, anyway) manufacturer. The company shed $194 million on sales of $7.448 billion, compared to a loss of $181 million on sales of $9.433 billion in the same quarter a year prior; we suppose the gap is narrower, but not by a heck of a lot. There's no profit in sight, either, with guidance of 2 to 4 cents per share worth of red ink in the second quarter.

As expected, the bulk of that bleeding is coming directly out of the mobile division, and to that end, USA Today sat down with CEO Greg Brown to chat about the state of the business and the impending spinoff. Brown says that by preparing for the divorce, the division's becoming more accountable for its own success -- in other words, it has a credit card and checkbook in its own name -- and that its people are becoming "energized" by the move. He wants cooler, consumer-driven products hitting the market at a consistently quick pace (one look at Samsung or LG should teach 'em a thing or two about "quick pace") and says that too great a focus on technology has led them astray recently. That sounds a little bogus to us; we certainly wouldn't call Moto devices the highest-tech around, but hey, if he wants to convince himself that his company's phones aren't selling well because they're too high-tech, we can't blame him.

Curiously, Brown paused before answering that he "feels" like the mobile division would probably benefit from using the Motorola name going forward; we'd assumed Motorola's granting of branding rights were a foregone conclusion, but it seems like those details haven't been sorted out yet. If they end up pulling even the Moto name from the new company, honestly, what's left?

Read - Greg Brown interview
Read - Q1 2008 results

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