Assuming the Google/Motorola merger goes through, Google might want to rethink that whole hands-off approach to managing its new hardware company. According to Motorola's press release, the company saw a net loss of about $80 million, after $3.4 billion in revenue. It's not the worst loss in the world, but shareholders are never happy when they see red.

The tablet sales figures are bad, though. Motorola says in Q4 of 2011, it shipped 200,000 tablets. That is not a typo. Two hundred thousand tablets shipped. "Shipped," by the way, is corporate-speak for "sold to stores." This doesn't necessarily mean that customers bought all of those tablets. For comparison, the original ASUS Transformer tablet sold 400,000 units per month during its initial run. Motorola, with multiple versions of the Xoom and Xyboard tablets on the market, has only managed to conjure half that number in three months.

Here's a look at some of the other key stats straight from Motorola's Motomouth:

  • Net revenues of $3.4 billion
  • Non-GAAP net earnings of $0.20 per share compared to net earnings of $0.37 per share in fourth quarter 2010; GAAP net loss of $0.27 per share compared to net earnings of $0.27 per share in fourth quarter 2010
  • Mobile Devices net revenues of $2.5 billion, up 5 percent from fourth quarter 2010; Non-GAAP operating loss of $19 million; GAAP operating loss of $70 million
  • Shipped 10.5 million mobile devices, including 5.3 million smartphones
  • Home net revenues of $897 million, down 11 percent from fourth quarter 2010; Non-GAAP operating earnings of $84 million; GAAP operating earnings of $57 million

While the picture the press release is painting is pretty pathetic, Motorola isn't exactly in danger of running into the ground - it's still selling millions of smartphones per quarter. It's not breaking any records, but it's also not faring as badly as, say, RIM. However, Motorola seriously needs to step up the tablet game. The Xoom launch was awful, the tablet was priced into oblivion, and it shipped without several key features. The promised LTE upgrade didn't come for six months and by that time Samsung had already managed to ship an LTE tablet on the same network.

The Google/Motorola merger still hasn't finalized and there's quite a lot of red tape left to get through. Google has said that once the deal is done that they will run Motorola with a very hands-off approach, largely to avoid anti-trust scrutiny. Still, if this is how Motorola is going to run its tablet business, with an average smartphone division keeping their nose above water, Google might want to consider getting its hands dirty before it finds itself owning a $12.5 billion dud.

Source: Press Release

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • BLWedge09

    I just wish Motorola would unlock the bootloaders on their phones like they once pledged to do. I've had Samsung (Captivate & Galaxy SII), HTC (Aria & Inspire) and Motorola (ATRIX OG & now Atrix 2) and even after having owned the others, I still feel like Moto's handsets are superior in many ways. Namely, they are the only manufacturer that has a headset speaker loud enough to allow me to be able to hear while in a crowded place.

    However, where they fall flat with handsets is that locked bootloader. That basically kills 3rd party ROM development for the phone since the locked bootloader means no custom kernel. You can do a few things, but not nearly as much as a fully unlocked phone. I don't mind Google taking a hands-off approach with Moto (if the deal goes through), as Moto has learned from some past mistakes and toned down blur to the point that it is hardly noticeable now. I just wish they would force the issue on bootloader unlocking. I know the Carriers supposedly have a say in this, but HTC seems to have found a way around that...

    Tablets are a different story. The Xoom, while not a bad piece of hardware, was always overpriced. I haven't yet seen a Xyboard. I'm content for a while with my Asus Transformer Prime, since it appears I was lucky enough to get one that has working Wifi and GPS even after the ICS update.

  • edd

    The tablet market has been awful so far for Android. Only the Transformers have offered something premium and innovative. All the rest have either been let down by the software (which I can overlook, it's early days for Android and the tablet market), or priced so high in the stratosphere that I cannot understand the reasoning.

    Although personally for me, the tablet form-factor doesn't do much for me. But I do love the Tranformer-style hybrids and the Samsung Note.

    • drksilenc

      the galaxy tabs are in the same class as the transformer series. i personally love my galaxy tab 7+

  • sgtguthrie

    I love MOTOROLA hardware, and blur isn't the monstrosity Sense and Touchwiz are (anymore).

    Let's make a deal moto... You make a device like your razr, with a better screen, removable battery, a great (fast shutter) camera, with A FULLY UNLOCKABLE BOOTLOADER! I'LL BUY IT, AND SO WILL MANY OTHERS! I want it unlockable like a NEXUS! That would be hitting one out of the park!

    The only reason I have a htc device right now, is because moto keeps encrypting their bootloaders!!! WAKE UP AND SMELL THE MONEY MOTOROLA!!!

    • drksilenc

      the latest touchwiz is actually less incorporated than the latest blur.

  • jason

    It's hard to believe that if the google purchase goes through motorola won't get some pure android, unlockable bootloader religion.

    • Sgtguthrie

      One would hope :-\

  • Sergiu T.

    That's because bootloader it's locked and Motorola software support it sucks.

  • Stephen

    Is Motorola known as a cool company in the US?
    From my view being UK based it isn't cool, not in the slightest.
    I bought an Asus Transformer (TF101), not only because Asus is a cool company, with good reputation, reliability but their products nearly always get good reviews.
    I have no intention of buying anything Motorola (although I like the Razr), but my view might change if via osmosis Google just gobbled up the Motorola brand completely. I guess that isn't going to happen, so the brand needs to start pushing out more desirable gadgets, otherwise it is going to tarnish Google's sub zero status.

  • Jonny

    Keeping locking down all you hardware mototurd...this is what happens when you get a bad rep.

  • Ronnie

    I'm not surprised. The Xoom has always been overpriced, even now when retailers are trying to get rid of them at a discount. That and lack of SD card support early on really turned me off this tablet.

  • Alex

    It doesn't surprise me. Besides Apple, who else does real profit in the tablet's market?

  • Tyler

    Perhaps if they hadn't spent so much effort into releasing 2 dozen different phones last year, this could have been a different story.
    I think it's kinda funny, unfortunately.
    Hopefully they won't make the same mistake this year.

  • Asphyx

    Well Moto's problem was the timing.
    It was the first real HC Unit released.
    And it wasn't long before there were a ton of options to choose from in the Android tablet world.

    Add to that ASUS really trumping the competition with thier Transformer design!
    The fact it had a touchpad and keyboard that integrated seamlessley, Added full sized USB and Memory card reader ports just made it the unit to have if your not all that interested in "Google Experience" and Hackability.

    The average person buying a Tab these days is the same market that used to get a netbook. Asus basically took all of that market by making a Tablet that can be a Netbook in a snap.

    I think if Google has a half a brain they will make sure the next Moto Pad has this capablility and if they do then not only will Moto get the sales but Apple might even lose some until they add the same features.