BRCM declared a write-off of good-will(from acquisition) of 16 billion dollars from their 3rd qtr earning, which shows as a loss.
Generally, good-will reduction is done over a period of 3 to 4 years. They front load the reduction of good-will after 9/11, as everyone expects bad numbers. Thus, the 16 billion dollars of loss slip into 3rd qtr report. So, BRCM doesn't have to reduce good-will for the future qtrs to come. That will artificially makes you think they are doing better this year than last year.
Just to correct you- Depreciation of goodwill was done over 5 years for tech companies and 20 years for non-tech. Now it is how much it is impacted over a yearly basis - and that is the reason for the large writeoff. Personnally I do not know how one can calculate this - so maybe they will just get rid of goodwill (like it should be).