You can say as much as you want, but what you don't say is often more important. Communications and media chipmaker Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM) said a lot in its reported first-quarter earnings and conference call yesterday -- it just wasn't what the market wanted to hear.

The company reported first-quarter net income of $175.1 million, or $0.29 per share, on revenue of $901.5 million. Unfortunately, Broadcom gave little reassurance about next quarter's growth, citing "mixed outlooks from a few of our larger customers". While CEO Scott McGregor commented that the company is optimistic about the second half of the year, his words did little to soothe investors' nerves about near-term bumps, and whether those negative trends will continue.

With fellow chipmakers Texas Instruments (NYSE:TXN) and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) both painting bright pictures going forward, Broadcom's contrasting view gave investors reason enough to knock its shares down 5% when trading opened this morning. Uncertain outlooks in a few of Broadcom's larger product segments, including cable modems and wireless networking, kept management cautious about joining the "higher forward guidance" party.

With Motorola (NYSE:MOT) accounting for more than 10% of its revenue, Broadcom's stuttering is none too surprising, given the cell phone maker's recent sales slowdown. Broadcom specializes in Bluetooth chips, which create short-range wireless connections between cell phones, earpieces, and other devices. Market-share shifts and revised outlooks from customers in the handset market contributed to Broadcom's expectations of essentially flat sequential revenue growth in the next quarter.

Still, the firm was able to deliver $181 million in free cash flow in this quarter, thanks to added efficiencies in its business. And management expressed excitement about its prospects, with several new products entering the market, such as Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) Apple TV.

If the short-term uncertainty remains brief, Broadcom should have plenty of good things to say the next time around.

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Fool contributor Dave Mock leaves many things left unsaid, which would probably explain much of his wife's frustration. He owns shares of Motorola and Qualcomm. Dave is the author of The Qualcomm Equation. The Fool disclosure policy speaks softly, but carries a big stick.