Moto's losses narrow as it prepares for life at Google

Motorola reported third-quarter results on Thursday in what could be its last report as an independent company

Motorola Mobility reported a net loss of US$32 million, or $0.11 a share, on net revenue of $3.26 billion for the third quarter, as the phone maker prepares to become a part of Google.

It could be the last quarterly earnings report from Motorola as a stand-alone company. In August, Google announced plans to acquire the handset maker in a controversial deal that some observers say could drive away Android phone makers that fear Motorola will have an unfair advantage under Google's wing.

Revenue was up 11 percent over the third quarter last year, Motorola said. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were expecting slightly better revenue of $3.37 billion.

The loss was a bit better than the third quarter last year, when Motorola recorded a net loss of $34 million.

Revenue in mobile devices, which make up the bulk of the company's business, was $2.4 billion, up 20 percent over the same time last year. The operating loss for the division was $41 million, slightly better than the loss of $43 million last year.

Motorola shipped 11.6 million devices, including 4.8 million smartphones. Its tablet business continues to lag, however. Motorola shipped just 100,000 Xoom tablets, despite finally starting to sell the 4G version of the tablet. Motorola has struggled to start delivering phones and tablets that can run on the higher-speed 4G networks.

The company did not offer expectations for the final quarter of the year, although last quarter it said it expected to be profitable in the fourth quarter and for the full year. It's not clear how Google will report Motorola results once its acquisition is complete.

Motorola continues to expect its acquisition by Google to close by the end of this year or early next, even though the U.S. Department of Justice has asked both Google and Motorola for more information about the agreement. Such scrutiny from the government is likely to slow down the closing of the deal. The acquisition also requires antitrust clearance by the European Commission, Canada, China, Israel, Russia, Taiwan and Turkey, Motorola said.

The handset maker is not conducting a conference call to discuss the quarterly earnings.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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