On a high note, all six operating segments reported stronger orders than last year. Sales and earnings at the soon-to-be spun off semiconductor unit were up over last year's fourth quarter, while the networking equipment business reversed a loss with operating earnings of $138 million.
And just last week, that same unit gained $1 billion in contracts from China Mobile
These positives prompted new CEO Ed Zander to proclaim, "These results provide further evidence that top-line growth has returned and that further improvement in profitability can be achieved." Zander, a former Sun Microsystems
On a low note, sales at Motorola's flagship cell-phone unit fell 3% to $3.3 billion. While competitors -- notably Nokia
What really hurts is that there is clearly demand for these products. Motorola introduced 21 new handset models during the quarter, helping to spur a 64% increase in orders to $3.6 billion. The company also expects first-quarter handset sales to climb 20%-25% year over year.
It was a quarter that illustrates clearly the importance of execution. That being said, Motorola really isn't in bad shape. Aside from this one -- though, admittedly major -- mishap, the company turned in a strong performance.