They seem behind because they don't compete in the same space. If you go to their site you will find Power PC is under embedded chips. While in the charts they describe the 74-- line as suitable for servers, that's only because Apple uses those chips, and the descriptions are several years out of date.
They market to the automobile market im which they are very sucessful. The printer market is a big one as well. Machinery control does not require the same performance that leading edge personal computers do. But they don't care because they are getting out of that market.
It isn't so much that they can't do something, as it is that they don't have the interest in doing it. They know very well that they can never gain marketshare in the personal computer space because of the domination of x86. So they work elsewhere. they have a very large line of PPC chips, and they are quite sucessful in the areas that they are in - even more so than Intel.
Freescale, nee Motorola, has had a reputation for dirty fabs for years on end now, all the way back to 220 nm and the 7400 "500 MHz" debacle, and have gradually fallen further behind every year after that. Schedules and roadmaps for fab rampups were late at every node. AMD essentially abandoned them for IBM for their 90 nm tech. Lastly, they did not have the funds to go at it alone at 90 nm, and had to combine forces with Philips and STMicro to get there. Crolles may actually be clean given that it seems to be a Philips fab, but Freescale has a lot of work to do to get their circuits working well at 90 nm.
No, they are not behind by choice. It is in their best interest to have the most advanced process node as possible with mutlicore embedded processors being offered by all of Freescale's competition. They are in a precarious situation right now, and will be in the foreseeable future.