Motorola 2nd only to Apple in happy customers

A new survey shows MOT and its Droid rank second only to Apple and its iPhone when it comes to "very satisfied" smartphone buyers

By InvestorPlace Jun 2, 2010 7:19AM

Motorola (MOT) has been one of those stocks that investors love to kick around. It peaked at almost $60 a share during the tech bubble days of 2000, slumped to $20 a share in 2006 amid increased competition from smartphones, and bottomed out at about $3 a share in March of 2009.


But Motorola has staged a comeback. The stock has almost doubled in the last year and a half with all the  buzz behind its Google (GOOG) powered Droid handset. What’s more a recent ChangeWave smartphone survey shows Motorola now ranking #2 among “very satisfied” customers -- only trailing Apple (APPL) and its vaunted iPhone. But will this mean continued success for the stock?


changewave smartphone survey graph
According to the ChangeWave survey of 1,009 consumers who had purchased a smartphone within the past six months, 64% of Motorola users said they were “very satisfied” with their handset.  This was well above the industry average, and second only to Apple and its nosebleed 77% rating. (More details on the ChangeWave smartphone survey can be found at, including key likes and dislikes for the major phone models.)

This high satisfaction is mirrored by Motorola’s recent financial turnaround. At the end of April, Motorola reported net income of $69 million or 3 cents per share for the first quarter. Not only did this surprise Wall Street – analysts expected a -1 cent loss on the quarter – it reversed a loss of $231 million or 10 cents a share in the same period last year.


The sticky situation, however, is figuring out what will be Motorola’s next big trick. Its Google-powered Droid smartphone has had everything to do with this turnaround – and while Motorola has been using the Android operating system to go head-to-head with Apple, it’s too soon to tell if MOT will be able to compete as well going forward.Motorola is committed to innovating a new line of Droid offerings with bigger and better features, but as of yet there are no concrete plans or launch dates.


In the absence of a new Motorola offering, the next-generation of Android-powered smartphones from rival HTC has been getting all the play in the media lately, even as  Motorola’s Droid gravy train may be slowing down.


HTC now ranks #3 in the latest ChangeWave survey, with 51% of consumers saying they are “very satisfied” with their device. However, the ChangeWave survey was conducted just before the new HTC Droid Incredible launch, and so that model wasn’t included in the results. Judging by the rave reviews and massive marketing push for the new phone, Motorola may soon find its biggest problem isn’t competition from Apple but from other Droid handset makers like HTC.


Still, there’s no denying that Motorola has fought back from the brink of disaster to once again achieve profitability. And if the recent ChangeWave smartphone survey is any indication, future successful Android-powered gadgets should keep Motorola customers happy – and keep MOT in the black.


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