Amazon’s Kindle on Fire, Shares of Nokia Slump: Weekly Tech Business Recap

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Here’s your Cheat Sheet to the top tech business stories of the week:

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The education market emerges on the scene just as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) readies a smaller and less expensive iPad. The devices are already being heavily bought by schools and colleges, pushing the sales of education-related iPad to double year-over-year in the second quarter, and the iPad Mini launch could of course step up this trend. Apple is endeavoring to cater to educational institutions via regular meetings with school officials, the use of dedicated sales teams, providing financing for volume orders and a digital textbook initiative.

General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) refinances $5 billion worth of bonds that mature in February so as to minimize any impact should the fiscal cliff not be averted. Chief Financial Officer Keith Sherin remarked that, “If it’s choppy, we are prepared.” The conglomerate used a portion of the $7 billion worth of bonds it raised earlier in October for the refinancing.

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Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is poised to begin the sale of Windows 8 and it will also introduce new products and services based around its XBox device. Something to anticipate is an application named SmartGlass which will permit users to control the XBox through a W8 tablet, laptop or phone and will supply extra information in regards to programming, such as player statistics in a sports game.

Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) reported on Monday that its $199 Kindle Fire HD tablet has been the hottest-selling product on its site since it became available at the start of September. This news appeared just prior to Tuesday’s expected intro of Apple’s iPad Mini.

Social networking and mobile ad peers of Facebook, such as LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), Millenial Media (MM), Renren (NYSE:RENN), and Sina Corporation (NASDAQ:SINA), are seeing their shares move up Wednesday in sympathy with FB’s third quarter results beat that was driven by its booming mobile ad sales and an optimistic earnings call. However, Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) is moving the opposite direction by Facebook’s payments revenue share that is rapidly declining.

At long last, Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) enters the Japanese e-reader and tablet markets as it just opened a Kindle store there that features more than 50,000 e-books and announces that the Fire, Kindle Paperwhite, and Fire HD will be stock by local retail chains. Further, an arrangement with NTT DoCoMo (NYSE:DCM) will enable 3 gigabyte Paperwhite users to receive free mobile data services.

In a new episode to a drawn-out saga, a court in The Netherlands has ruled that Samsung’s (SSNLF.PK) smartphones and tablets do not infringe Apple’s pinch-to-zoom patent. However, the court still must decide on an Apple injunction request.

Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) reports that it has laid off “fewer than 100 people” at its Radian6 social media marketing software division, adding that the move, 18 months after Radian6 was acquired for $326 million, is linked to joining the unit with recently-bought Buddy Media.

Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE:HPQ) Chief Executive Meg Whitman announced at a Gartner event that her company will not be making a smartphone in 2013 while adding that it remains interested in offering one eventually. In addition, Whitman declared 2013 a “fix and rebuild” year and reaffirmed the firm’s commitment to the personal computer market despite its struggles of late.

Don’t Miss: iPad Mini: Here’s Why Apple Thinks $329 Works.

Shares of Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) continue down as on Monday, the company completed a €750 million five-year convertible bond issue at an annual coupon of 5 percent. The original conversion price is €2.61 and the maximum number of shares which can be issued upon conversion is 7.7 percent of Nokia’s issued stock.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has been charged by the European Commission with failing to comply with a 2009 order to provide a choice of web browsers on its Windows 7 operating system. The firm had agreed to the order to resolve an antitrust inquiry and has blamed tech problems for it not being fulfilled. In the worst case, Microsoft might face fines of 10 percent of its worldwide revenues.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares move generally up, following AT&T’s (NYSE:T) announcement that it activated 4.7 million iPhones in the third quarter, a number far above the second quarter’s 3.7 million. The new figure is despite the latter’s admission that iPhone 5 supply limits impacted its postpaid net adds.

Tuesday night’s results have Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) shares are already in orbit Wednesday (pushing 20 percent late afternoon), and they got a booster shot with upgrades at BAML and Citigroup. Mark Mahaney of the latter wrote that, “What investors have for the first time since the IPO is fundamental acceleration with a reasonable valuation.”

Don’t Miss: Here’s Why Microsoft Is In Trouble.

eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) partners with FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX) to enable merchants to print FedEx labels at home at rates discounted up to 37 percent. The company is also working with Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI) to supply world tracking and duty rate estimates. Some 40 percent of sellers on eBay already employ its label-printing services and 50 percent of its third quarter sales involved free shipping. Any savings in costs for such deals increase a seller’s bottom line. Additionally, eBay’s third quarter sold items rose by 19 percent year-over-year due to growing mobile activity.

Yelp (NYSE:YELP) shares jumped on Wednesday on word of its Qype purchase, along with Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) third quarter results, but are going the other way on Thursday. There exists a number of likely reasons including the announcement by Blue Calypso that it is suing Yelp, which is only one of its several targets. Also, a few insiders own the majority of outstanding shares, short interest in the shares is heavy, and third quarter figures are due on November 1st.

Investing Insights: Is Facebook a Buy After All?

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has officially launched Windows 8 at an event in New York which was not all that heavy in new details. The reviews are now on in earnest, such as that by David Pogue, who is not impressed by the firm’s efforts to fuse two UIs. He remarks in part that, “TileWorld is fantastic for touch screens… Desktop Windows is obviously designed for the mouse… you can’t live exclusively in one world or the other.”

Vringo (AMEX:VRNG) shares are moving up while its infringement trial against Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) goes forward. On Wednesday, Vringo requested that jurors be told to ignore cross-examination testimony from its own witness concerning a patent licensing arrangement between The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) and Google. Later on the same day in a mid-trial report, SA‘s Steve Kim contended that Vringo has established a prima facie case for infringement, subsequent to the testimony of a liability expert, but cautioned that Google is ready to bring out its own experts.

Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) purchases Stamped, the developer of a mobile application which permits users to recommend their favorite items to friends and in return receive commendations. Chief Executive Marissa Mayer has declared goals of enhancing her company’s mobile position, while concentrating upon smaller deals that add engineering talent, so this current acquisition fits right in. For its part, Stamped says that its application will be discontinued by the end of 2012.

The great expectations of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) investors, along with those of its component suppliers such as Broadcom Corporation (NASDAQ:BRCM), Cirrus Logic (NASDAQ:CRUS), OmniVision Technologies (NASDAQ:OVTI), and SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ:SNDK), are down from the heights they enjoyed on the 21st of September — and so are shares.

That was the day in which Apple reached its all-time high as the iPhone 5 was introduced, but investors as they awaited the firm’s fiscal fourth quarter results, which came late, with a miss on earnings by 8 cents on $8.67, and a revenue beat by $200 million on $36 billion (up 27 percent year-over-year). During the period 26.9 million iPhones were sold, along with 14 million iPads, and 5.3 million iPods. The fiscal first quarter guidance calls for revenue totaling $52 billion, and earnings per share of $11.75, which is below the consensus of $55 billion and $15.41, respectively, but is typically conservative for the company, even if the earnings number does imply pressure on the margins. Sales of iPads were disappointing, but those of iPhones were the opposite. Finally, the gross margin came out 40 percent, which was down 280 basis points quarter-over-quarter, and 30 basis points year-over-year.

Pandora Media (NYSE:P) jumped after hours Thursday on the news that music executives advise CNET that Apple’s Internet radio service is a long way from being a fait accompli. The latter is requesting more flexibility for its service than what Pandora and others can supply, but Apple is said to be pushing for a lower royalty rate and some believe that its offered reduction on iAd sales is insufficient. Meanwhile, Pandora shares have lost their late Thursday gain.

Samsung (SSNLF.PK) shipped some 56.9 million smartphones in the third quarter, according to the research firm Strategy Analytics, which pushes its market share to 35.2 percent, cementing its hold on the sector lead.

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Expedia’s impressive third quarter worldwide growth, which might well continue, has shares of peers Orbitz Worldwide (NYSE:OWW), Travelzoo (NASDAQ:TZOO), and Tripadvisor (TRIP) on watch. Orbitz is popping Friday in mid-afternoon trading.

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad Mini, with its premium pricing and everything else, seems to starting off well. The white model sold out just hours after pre-orders began, with shipping times currently holding at 2 weeks, and the black model remains available. According to a recent Digitimes claim, the Mini’s relatively high pricing came from to low yields for its cutting-edge GF2 touchscreen technology. Apple shares dipped, but closed less than 1 percent down on the day after its third quarter results.

Images and specifications for Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Samsung’s pricy Nexus 10 tablet have been leaked by BriefMobile leaks. Scheduled to be announced at an event on Monday, the device sports a dual-core Samsung Exynos processor and a 10.1-inch AMOLED display, with a 2500×1600 resolution. The Nexus 7 uses an Nvidia Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) chip, and the display in the 10 tablet is seen as a positive for Universal Display Corporation (NASDAQ:PANL), as OLEDs have seen limited tablet use. However, so far no one has come up with a successful high-end competitor to the iPad and its array of 275,000 tablet-specific applications.

Shares of Constant Contact (NASDAQ:CTCT) are down more that 25 percent in afternoon trading (and have been all day), following the company’s third quarter results, and are taking online marketing software peers along for the ride, though not that far. It wasn’t so much the quarter report that is sinking CTCT, but the fourth quarter guidance for revenue of between $65.2 million and $65.5 million, that is doing the damage along with earnings per share estimates of 14 to 16 cents against a consensus of $67.5 million and 18 cents, respectively. On its conference call, the firm blamed the inability to convert the trial users of its e-mail marketing. Stocks of its peers include Eloqua (ELOQ), Responsys (NASDAQ:MKTG), ExactTarget (ET), and Bazaarvoice (BV).

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