Motorolan is a friendly term that employees of Motorola call themselves.  Motorola is releasing an earnings cut and sales guidance change over its 4th quarter performance.

The revised numbers will peg sales down from 11.8-12.1 billion to $11.6-$11.8 billion, a $200 million swing.  They are also calling out charges that will hit earnings per share by 10 cents for investment related losses, unusual taxes and stock compensation expenses and of course business reorganization.

Ed Zanders took a play right out of the old Chris Galvin book and stated, “We are very disappointed with our fourth-quarter financial performance.”  This earnings announcement comes just before the opening of the Consumer Electronics Show.  Motorola has been looking for another hit to follow up on the success of the Razr, but other mobile phone makers have been quick to enter the slim phone market.

Motorola has never been good about building buzz about its products and this can be witnessed by listening to the crickets chirp Moto slogans just days before CES.  With Microsoft’s launch of Zune, Nintendo’s Wii, Sony’s PS3 and Apple’s phone not to be called the iPhone, the electronics industry has to wonder when will Motorola wake the beast within.

As the head of The Home Depot announced his departure, it shed light on the fact that companies that embrace Motorola’s Six Sigma process improvement philosophy and practices they rarely see any benefits in their stock prices.  For Motorola, its probably more likely that Six Sigma hasn’t hurt their performance all these years, but instead its failure to be adopted widely throughout the company and with a passionate implementation has left the company to continue to be pulled  around  by a handful of heroes that are running out of steam trying to save the day with bloated fingers sorely stuck in the dam.

It sure would be nice to see a surprise turn around in this company, but first they must learn that marketing isn’t just about slick ads telling people what is cool.  They still need to learn how to deliver great products and build peoples passions long before they come to market.

Ed Zanders’ ‘disappointment’ with performance is just one more example showing that this company still has a long way to go.  They say that turn arounds in a company must happen quickly if they are to work.  It would seem that if this axiom is true, then Mr. Zanders needs to strike very soon, or he will institutionalize a friendly term of a Motorolan into a negative connotation of a person and a company that have great potential but can not realize that potential.  In other words a tragedy that could have been avoided.

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