Wouldn't you love for a company to kick off a quarterly update by telling investors that it had some good news and some bad news and then asking them which they wanted to hear first?

That's usually because despite any kind of spin or sugarcoating, the news is either predominantly good or dreadful. However, last night Texas Instruments (NYSE:TXN) truly produced a mixed bag when it announced that its third-quarter earnings would be coming in higher than expected while revenues would fall short.

Guiding shareholders to expect profits to come in between $0.27 and $0.29 a share is a refreshingly tighter range than the $0.26 to $0.29 marks it had issued when it announced its second-quarter results back in July.

However, the period's revenues, which the company had pegged to come in between $3.2 billion and $3.44 billion over the summer, will fall closer to a range of $3.1 billion to $3.24 billion. The shortfall is a result of weakness in the company's flagship semiconductor business. It also all but assures that the company will show a sequential dip from the $3.24 billion it had produced in second-quarter revenues. That would be notable since the company had been coming up strong over the pastfew quarters.

Unfortunately, even the good news is slightly tainted, as the higher range is peppered with puffy items like a tax benefit on exports and a reduction in its profit-sharing plan accruals.

But if the good news had a dash of bad tidings, then one could also hope for a glimmer of optimism sprinkled over the revenue shortfall. TI explains it by pointing to chip customers who held back on orders to trim back on their own inventory levels. That makes sense with the company's cellular stronghold for its programmable chips ever since TI first hooked up with Nokia (NYSE:NOK). It's been a tough sector lately. But if this holds up, and it's simply an adjustment blip, the company should resume its sequentially growing ways in the year's final quarter.

If not -- if that weakness proves contagious -- we can always hear about the company's next dud of a period, flanked by the good news that it just saved $159 on its car insurance by switching over to Berkshire Hathaway's (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) GEICO.

Did you lean on the good or the bad in TI's latest report? Will the company be able to overcome the slide in the wireless market elsewhere, or will it feel the pain? All this and more in the Texas Instruments discussion board.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz once had a TI calculator. Didn't we all? Don't we all? He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story.