Motorola eyes home streaming to mobile

NEW YORK Thu Dec 2, 2010 9:32am EST

Daniel Moloney, president of Motorola's Home business Motorola Mobility, speaks at the Reuters Global Media Summit in New York, December 1, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Daniel Moloney, president of Motorola's Home business Motorola Mobility, speaks at the Reuters Global Media Summit in New York, December 1, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Motorola Mobility plans next year to sell a product that lets consumers stream video to mobile devices such as tablet computers and cellphones in their home, a top executive for the company said on Wednesday.

The product, announced at the Reuters Global Media Summit, will be showcased at the Consumer Electronics show right after Motorola Inc MOT.N spins off Motorola Mobility, which includes its set-top box and cellphone business, from the rest of the company on January 4.

Daniel Moloney, president of Motorola Mobility, sees the offering as a first step in his efforts to combine set-top box and cellphone technology to eventually allow consumers to view any content anywhere on different devices in the next five years.

"It's one consumer proposition that will come sooner rather than later," Moloney told the Reuters Global Media Summit on Wednesday.

While much of the technology already exists for such offerings, one thorny issue is for equipment makers or operators to forge agreements with programing providers for the right to let consumers carry content around.

This is why the streaming product will initially only send video to devices being used within the home. Moving content outside the home could take much longer, Moloney said.

And after being sold a separate gadget, to be offered via service providers, the home streaming product will eventually be integrated into set-top boxes, the executive said.

While Moloney said it would be up to service providers whether to charge an extra service fee for the device or not, they could offer it as a way to discourage higher-value customers from switching to another service.

The Home subsidiary, which includes set-top boxes and cable network equipment, represented almost a third of Motorola Mobility sales in the third quarter with revenue of $912 million compared with $2 billion in revenue from cellphones.

Moloney said he sees Motorola Mobility generating operating profits in an 8 to 12 percent range in the next three to five years.

While the Home business already had a profit margin of 8.4 percent and an operating profit of $77 million in the third quarter, the cellphone business only just turned a tiny profit of $3 million in the quarter for the first time in almost three years. This gave it a profit margin of 0.1 percent.

But Moloney said that both parts of the business have to reach the 8 to 12 percent range under the plan.

Motorola Mobility and will trade under the MMI ticker on New York Stock Exchange after the split. The rest of Motorola, which sells technology to governments and corporations, will change its name to Motorola Solutions and will trade under the MSI symbol, also on NYSE.

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