Motorola takes last place among the big five phonemakers

July 10, 2008, 3:42 PM UTC

By Scott Moritz

Motorola, the flailing No. 3 mobile phone maker, is dropping like a lead handset in industry rankings.

Skipping the No.4 slot, Motorola (MOT) is set to land at the back of the pack at No. 5, according to second quarter shipment numbers. Motorola shipped between an estimated 22 million and 23 million phones in the second quarter, say industry sources cited in a DigiTimes story Thursday. Those numbers compare with projections for 28.1 million phones shipped by LG and 24 million units from Sony Ericsson. Nokia (NOK) and Samsung are No. 1 and No. 2.

The stunning freefall in sales is happening at a faster clip than many observers expected. In March, reported that if Motorola’s weak sales trends continued, the Schaumburg, Ill.-based tech titan could fall to fourth place by year end.

Without any compelling new phones to followup on the Razr’s success, Motorola has been in free fall the past two years. The once-profitable handset unit, and formerly Motorola’s strongest business, lost half its marketshare since 2006 and plunged into the red. Earlier this year, Motorola announced plans to cut its losses and spin off its phone business. Even a recent headhunting mission to find a new CEO turned somewhat laughable when the targeted Hewlett-Packard executive announced that he was quite happy in his current job.

Motorola is expected to report second quarter results on July 31.