Consumer Business Recap: Microsoft and Apple Gang Up on Motorola, Lowe’s Wants Customers Back

Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) is the target of an investigation by the EU launched by assertions by Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) that Motorola charges unfairly for the use of its patents. The inquiry will in particular examine whether Motorola has “failed to honor its irrevocable commitments” over internet protocol it has said is essential for “standard-compliant products.”

Don’t Miss: Chrysler, Ford, and GM Report March Sale Madness.

Reveling in the overall auto sector recovery, AutoNation (NYSE:AN) posts a 15 percent year-to-year increase in new vehicle sales in March to 25,489. The figures reflect double-digit increases across all segments.

Food and condiment producer Annie’s (BNNY) went public last week, and shares soared. Monday night on his show Mad Money, Jim Cramer praised the company as still being cheaper than its competitor Hain Celestial (NASDAQ:HAIN), and also commented that Annie’s shares should be boosted by its quiet period coming to an end, with encouraging analysts’ pronouncements beginning.

Investing Insights: Burger King’s Strategy to Retake the Throne.

One burger battle at a time will win the war, Burger King apparently believes, as it targets Wendy’s (NYSE:WEN) this week with its largest menu expansion ever, containing ten new items. Although most of the new offerings closely resemble existing items on McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) menu, BK is challenging Wendy’s first, since it passed it for number two in the sector. McDonald’s is atop the burger market share race, and Burger King will take it on after disposing of Wendy’s.

AT&T (NYSE:T) could face a strike by about 40,000 wireline operations employees on Sunday, if a new contract with the CWA union can’t be obtained by Saturday. Verizon saw the same situation in August with the CWA, and those parties have not yet come to an agreement.

Lowe’s (NYSE:LOW) wants its customers back from Home Depot (NYSE:HD), and is ‘pulling out all the stops’ to do so. The home improvement major has been bested for eleven straight quarters by Home Depot in same-store growth, and its new strategy to reverse the trend includes e-commerce, and assertive growth in Canada. CFO Robert Hull remarks that e-commerce alone could boost sales by 5 to 10 percent within 5 years.

Don’t Miss: New Competitor Tries to Flank Wal-Mart.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Lawson at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com