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Updated from 12:26 p.m. EDT

Once again,

Motorola

(MOT)

resembles one of the cell phones it manufacturers -- specifically one for which you've lost the instruction manual.

Nobody, it appears, can figure out how to make the darn thing work.

That problem became apparent Friday when

The Wall Street Journal

reported that Motorola will miss deadlines for shipping its first camera-fortified cell phones to wireless operators in time for the holiday season.

The news erases most of the optimism that investors felt upon the announcement last Friday that Motorola Chairman and CEO Chris Galvin would be stepping down, and it comes the same day that handset rival Nokia announced its second major restructuring in 18 months.

Nokia ended Friday up 19 cents, or 1.2%, to $15.26.

Perhaps Nokia's gain is based on the apparent diminished fourth-quarter competition from Motorola, or perhaps people are genuinely pleased that Nokia is streamlining from nine business units to four business groups to, in Nokia's words, "strengthen its focus on convergence, new mobility markets and growth."

Either way, any optimism for Motorola stock in the market seems to correlate only to how quickly people believe new management can stage a garage sale. Like the mythical instructionless cell phone, operating it seems to be a lost cause.

If accurate, the

Journal

report is a nasty surprise. The manufacturer will have no camera phones to deliver in time for holiday shopping to Verizon Wireless -- a joint venture of

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Verizon

(VZ) - Get Verizon Communications Inc. Report

and

Vodafone

(VOD) - Get Vodafone Group Plc Report

-- the article reports. The second-largest carrier, Cingular -- owned by

BellSouth

(BLS)

and

SBC

(SBC)

-- won't be able to sell a Motorola camera phone until days before Christmas.

As recently as July, the

Journal

says, Motorola saw no problems in making fourth-quarter deliveries. And there's little doubt that camera phones are increasingly important, both in the U.S. and elsewhere. At an investment conference earlier this month, Motorola President Mike Zafirovski said that camera phones would comprise 40% of worldwide GSM-standard cell-phone shipments in the fourth quarter.

In a press release issued Friday afternoon, Zafirovski said, "The company is well positioned for the holiday sales season, with many of its new cell phones featuring the color screens and integrated cameras that are popular with consumers all over the world.

But farther down in the press release, Zafirovski admitted "encountering some variation in our introduction of certain new models."

The Motorola press release didn't address the

Journal's

specific assertions about missed shipment deadlines, chiefly in the U.S. Instead, the company says that shipments out of its Personal Communications Segment -- no specific geographic area supplied -- will be consistent with prior guidance. PCS sales in the third quarter will increase at least 20% over the second quarter, and fourth quarter sales will increase over the third, forecasts Motorola. Operating margins will improve sequentially as well, says Motorola.

The soothing words were enough to erase losses that had reached 5% by midday. The shares ended Friday unchanged at $12.53.

As Motorola watchers know, this isn't the first time that operations at the Schaumburg, Ill., conglomerate have fallen short of expectations.

Back in April, Motorola was forecasting 2003 earnings per share of as high as 40 cents; the Thomson First Call consensus is now at 17 cents. Revenue would be $28 billion; the consensus is now $2 billion short of that. The all-powerful

"digital six sigma" that executives, on Motorola's first quarter call, said would drive down expenses doesn't appear to have worked its magic.

Nor have adventures in vendor financing and satellite cell phones.

About the only upbeat notes regarding Motorola on Friday came from the horn of analysts who see Galvin's departure accelerating asset sales.

Upgrading Motorola to an overweight rating, J.P. Morgan analyst Ehud Gelblum said his research indicated that selling Motorola's wireless infrastructure division, its cable division and half of its semiconductor division would be 21 cents accretive to 2004 earnings. Gelblum also noted, "In the near-term, we believe Motorola has the wind at its back heading into year-end," based on apparently strong handset sales and cost-cutting in its semiconductor business. J.P. Morgan has done recent underwriting and investment banking for Motorola.

Making a similar divestiture-creates-value argument, SoundView Technology analyst Matt Hoffman argued Friday for a $14 price target. Hoffman has an outperform rating on Motorola; his firm hasn't done investment banking for the company.

As for any value created by Nokia's restructuring, the early assessments are faintly reassuring. "Although this is a positive move, investors should not get carried away; the potential benefits will not materialise in the near term," writes Mats Nystrom, an analyst at Stockholm-based Enskilda Securities.