More doom and gloom atop Mt. Moto

Troubled vendor Motorola delivered more pain to its shareholders, with the company increasing its net loss for the first quarter to $194m from $181m in the same period a year ago. Sales also dropped from $9.4bn in 2007 to $7.4bn in the three months to the end of March.

The problematic handset division continued to be an albatross around the company’s neck, almost doubling its operating loss from $233m to $418m, as sales dropped 39 per cent to $3.3bn. During the quarter, the company shipped 27.4 million handsets, down from 39 million in the final quarter of 2007.

The company recently announced plans to separate its ailing handsets unit from the networks side of its business and in doing so create two independent publicly traded companies. The announcement came as no great surprise, follows January’s revelation that the company was evaluating the structural and strategic realignment of its businesses.

The move also suggests activist shareholder Carl Icahn is finally bending some ears at the company – he more recently got two of his own nominees onto the board. However, the split might also suggest that no potential buyers have emerged to take the devices business off Moto’s hands.

Earlier this month, the beleaguered vendor announced another 2,600 job cuts, bringing the total reductions since January 2007 to just over 10,000. In a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the US firm said that the latest round of cuts resulted in a net pre-tax charge in the first quarter of approximately $104m.

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