Motorola Goes For The Hard Sell In Cellulars

But a bid to bolster margins on premium phones may backfire

Motorola Inc. has had a long-standing policy of refraining from making public statements about earnings before the end of a quarter. But these are strange days for the onetime Wall Street darling. On Sept. 11, the company warned that third-quarter earnings would be "significantly" below second-quarter profits of $326 million, or 54 cents per share, and well beneath analysts' expectations of 50 cents per share. Wall Street had no sympathy: The stock dropped 3%, to 49 1/4, a 40% decline from its year-ago high of 81 3/4.

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