iPad Mini Production Possibly Underway, Microsoft Making Its Move in Smartphone Market: Weekly Tech Business Recap

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

Are these stocks a buy or sell? Let us help you decide. Check out our Wall St. Cheat Sheet Stock Picker Newsletter now >>

A temporary domestic sales ban on Samsung’s (SSNLF.PK) older Galaxy Tab 10.1 has been lifted by Judge Lucy Koh after a jury decided in August that the device did not violate the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) patent in question. In the meantime, Samsung has filed a motion claiming that the iPhone 5 violates some of its own IP, which adds to an existing lawsuit.

The rumor concerning Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) smartphone doesn’t want to go away. A company executive denied the rumor that Microsoft might compete with Windows Phone partners such as Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK), back in June. However, according to a “trusted source” to BGR, Redmond is working on a high-end smartphone with an intro expected in the coming months.

Sharp has begun the manufacture of 5-inch LCD panels which feature 1080-pixel resolutions. The panels should be found in Android phones early in 2013, and represent fresh rivalry for the OLED tech vendor Universal Display Corporation (NASDAQ:PANL), but it could be a positive for the application processor suppliers Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Nvidia Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA), since more power will be required to support video playback and 3D gaming at such a high resolution.

Are these stocks a buy or sell? Let us help you decide. Check out our Wall St. Cheat Sheet Stock Picker Newsletter now >>

Motorola Mobility (NASDAQ:GOOG) has withdrawn an August ITC complaint against Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which covered 7 non-standards-essential software patents. There exist several possible rationales, such as Google/Motorola not anticipating a favorable ruling; it’s a goodwill gesture on Google’s part; or Google prefers to take its infringement complaints into a courtroom.

International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) wins a protest to overturn a $543 million Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE:HPQ) contract to supply wireless tracking solutions for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The United States Government Accountability Office decided that the VA “made several prejudicial errors” at the time it awarded the contract to H-P and has now ordered the agency to reevaluate the proposals if not actually reopen the bidding.

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5 does not please Doug Kass, who says that it “feels like a toy” while remarking that Steve Jobs would have never “let it go out the door like that.” But Jobs is no longer there and Apple risks “losing that magical Walt Disney feeling” says Kass, who shorted Apple in the winter, and also thinks Apple is “losing mojo and mindshare” to Samsung (SSNLF.PK). Ouch. The analyst predicts that his fears could be realized after the December quarter.

Don’t Miss: Is This New Apple Product Making Slow Progress?

Mass production of the iPad Mini may well be underway as the Wall Street Journal confirms chatter that Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Asian suppliers have begun making the tablet. The product will sport a 7.85-inch screen, compared to 9.7 inches for the regular iPad and 7 for Google’s Nexus. Further, LG Display and AU Optronics Corp. (NYSE:AUO) reportedly began production for the new screen in September.

Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) considers divesting its massive Espoo, Finland headquarters as part of its cash-raising endeavors. A newspaper in the country values the facility at between €200 million and-€300 million ($259 million to $388 million). The firm has also been searching for ways by which it might monetize its patent portfolio as its debt has been downgraded to junk by major ratings agencies.

Genealogy giant Ancestry.com (NASDAQ:ACOM) is still trying to sell itself to private equity firms and to that effort has purchased the startup 1000memories which helps consumers digitize and share their old photographs. Ancestry intends to join 1000memories and its Shoebox photo-scanning application with its family genealogy services. Financials of the transactions were not reported.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) chairman Eric Schmidt sold $130 million in shares between September 24th and 26th, thus benefitting from the recent run-up. Additionally, Schmidt filed to sell $1.45 billion worth of shares in February as part of a trading plan.

Don’t Miss: Here’s How New Privacy Laws Could Affect Facebook and Google.

Shares of Leap Wireless International (NASDAQ:LEAP) are giving back on Wednesday more than they gained Tuesday on chatter regarding the MetroPCS/T-Mobile deal as investors come to the conclusion that the terms might not be the best for the company. Meanwhile, JPMorgan downgraded Leap to Neutral because it’s dubious about a suitor emerging in the near-term. Worse, JPM characterizes Leap an “unattractive” target for Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S). On the same day, MetroPCS Communications (NYSE:PCS) shares are falling significantly at mid-afternoon.

Nokia Corporation’s (NYSE:NOK) Stephen Elop admits that, “I would like to have done better”, regarding his firm’s early Windows Phone (NASDAQ:MSFT) sales, as he believes that WP 7.5 did not provide Nokia sufficient room to stand out and also that its marketing should have been more effective. However, Elop does not doubt his decision to support WP rather than Android, a controversial move considering that Nokia’s total smartphone sales are taking a plunge.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) could be seriously looking at the smartphone market, says Digitimes, along with several other sites. According to its sources, the search giant has recruited the contract manufacturer Pegatron to make Window Phone 8 devices that will be introduced in the first half of 2013.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) partisan Brian White says that boosting the iPad Mini output is playing out to be just as difficult as hurrying the iPhone 5’s production. White believes that yield problems have set the product some 4 to 6 weeks behind the original launch timetable, but predicts that December quarter sales of between 5 and 7 million units are still obtainable.

Vringo (AMEX:VRNG) shares are up about 25 percent in late trading, subsequent to Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) being denied its request for a summary judgment on Vringo’s patent suit against it. Shares of the latter are currently up around 72 percent over the last 2 days.

Don’t Miss: Google Has This Bad News for Motorola.

AT&T (NYSE:T) will announce its backing of Nokia Corporation’s (NYSE:NOK) flagship Lumia 920 phone Thursday, say sources to Bloomberg. In the meantime, the Windows Phone 8 received a disappointing response from investors when unveiled in September and is now expected to go on sale in early November while its steep unsubsidized pricing has caught attention. Sales of the Lumia 920 will be exclusive to AT&T although many thought that Verizon would also carry the product.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) shares have traded up and down following Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that the company now has more that 1 billion monthly active users, having closed its second quarter with a mere 955 million. Additionally, a fact sheet says that Facebook currently hosts 219 billion photos – up from 140 billion earlier in 2012 – and has played some 22 billion songs since Open Graph came onto the scene in 2011. Observers might wonder if Pandora Media (NYSE:P), which recently survived a class-action suit having to do with Facebook integration, feels threatened by the latter figure.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) currently predicts $340 million worth of third quarter restructuring charges linked to its endeavors to reduce the size of Motorola Mobility, a figure that is up from the previous estimate of $275 million. The company said in August that it would eliminate 20 percent of Motorola’s workforce but now indicates that it has widened its project to include additional areas overseas.

Don’t Miss: Here’s the Next Stop for Nokia’s Lumia. Certain solar stocks sold off Friday due to at least two factors. Shares of First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) slid following a downgrade by Avian from Positive to Negative, due to claims that the junction boxes with the firm’s solar module installations are seeing reliability problems, even though the warranty on First Solar’s modules lasts for 20 years. Also, a negative New York Times article in regards to Chinese production appears to have caused shares of Guggenheim Solar (NYSE:TAN) and Trina Solar Limited (NYSE:TSL) to drop, but peer solar firm Suntech Power Holdings Co. (NYSE:STP) rebounded slightly.

Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) executive Ilari Nurmi has exited the firm for reasons unknown. Nurmi was responsible for Nokia’s smartphone strategy and his sudden departure accompanies chatter that Chief Executive Stephen Elop might get sacked in 2013 if the company’s Windows Phone 8 sales do not deliver as hoped.

Gannett Co. (NYSE:GCI) says that it will cease broadcasting on DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ:DISH) if the latter refuses to drop the ad-skipping feature on its digital-video recorders or agree to shell out for large penalties. If Gannett’s warning becomes reality, Dish subscribers in 19 cities that include Atlanta and Washington would lose access late this weekend to various channels affiliated with ABC, CBS and NBC.

Are these stocks a buy or sell? Let us help you decide. Check out our Wall St. Cheat Sheet Stock Picker Newsletter now >>

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) shares are off considerably in the late afternoon, after JPMorgan reduced the firm’s payments revenue target subsequent to the Zynga warning Thursday night. Analysts now forecast a payments revenue of $582 million, which is sharply down from a prior estimate of $797 million.

Shares of Vringo (AMEX:VRNG) lose more than a tenth of their value on word that the company took advantage of the big run-up that occurred over the past two days to announce a 10.3 million share stock offering at $4.35. The event will take place on the same day that Vringo enters court-ordered resolution talks with Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), October 9th.

Don’t Miss: Gannett Gives Dish an Ultimatum: The Clock is Ticking.

A German court has decided that Motorola Mobility (NASDAQ:GOOG) did not infringe on a Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) patent linked to a technique for writing application code that can run on multiple handsets. However, it is not likely that the latter is exactly devastated by the latest ruling as it has already won three injunctions against Motorola in that country. Meanwhile, Microsoft is aiming at favorable licensing terms instead of waging “thermonuclear war” against Android.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) shares might not be having their best of days, but the company has been granted a request by a panel of federal judges for dozens of investor IPO lawsuits to be unified at a New York federal court including the suit filed against it, Nasdaq OMX (NASDAQ:NDAQ), and underwriters. Some of the plaintiffs has hoped the venues would remain in California.

Shares of Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) had earlier fallen in sympathy with Zynga’s troubles, but late in the day are one of the tech standouts, even though there is no obvious news as catalyst. Observers note that this is not the first time some of the shorts have decided to cover at the end of the week.

Don’t Miss: Zynga: Worst Internet IPO Ever?