The unit tumbled last year
from No. 2 in the world behind Nokia to No. 3 behind Samsung Electronics. It has negative margins; scant toehold in the sizzling market for third-generation phones that download photos, videos, and
other data at high speeds; and consequently, diminishing market share.
Still, it's not out of the question that one of Motorola's chief rivals could pounce. Possible suitors include LG Electronics--currently the world's No. 5 cell-phone maker--and several smaller Asian hardware players such as Huawei Technologies and Lenovo Group, which recently bought IBM's PC business. Private equity players are also logical candidates, analysts say.