Tech Business Weekly Recap: Google Slims Down, Yahoo Back on the Deal Table

The Cheat Sheet

Amazon.com Inc.   : As previously reported, DigiTimes claims Amazon will launch an 8.9-inch version of the Kindle Fire in Q2 2012. Amazon’s use of an 8.9-inch display is reportedly motivated by price cuts for 8.9-inch panels from Samsung and LG Display . With iSuppli estimating the display/touchscreen assembly for the iPad 2 costs $127, Amazon has a bit of motivation to use a smaller display.

Seagate Technology   : Western Digital lost an arbitration case brought against it by rival Seagate Technology. Execs with the firm say they will aggressively challenge the $525M award that stemmed from alleged misappropriation of confidential information and trade secrets.

Investing Insights: Baidu Dominating All Contenders.

eBay Inc.   : eBay confirms it acquired privately owned Hunch.com to help shore up its prediction technology aimed at delivering spot-on recommendations to users. The amount remains undisclosed. The firm says it will keep employees of Hunch including three of the founders.

Google Inc.   : Piles and piles of inventory seen by Android tablet vendors this year may get even worse after the holiday season ends, according to DigiTimes’s sources, as the arrival of the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet make life even more difficult for tablet vendors struggling to compete with the iPad . Chip suppliers Nvidia and Atmel Corporation  would likely take a hit from a major inventory drawdown.

AT&T, Inc.   : A large-scale organized attempt to obtain personal information from online accounts beckons AT&T to notify its customers. After such, it could boost network security stocks such as Symantec Corporation , ManTech International Corporation , Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation , CACI International Inc , Dynamics Research Corporation , and SAIC Inc .

Netflix’s  list for its latest $400M bond and stock offering says it expects to make a net loss in 2012. Netflix had previously said it might lose money for the only first few quarters of 2012. However, subscriber cancellations are falling.

Shanda Interactive  enters into a definitive agreement for CEO Tianqiao Chen to take the company private for $41.35/share. Shares halted $39.39 yesterday.

H-P  is down, but FY12 guidance was soft. Weakness in high-margin areas such as printing supplies (-14% Y/Y) and high-end servers (-23%) are weighing on EPS. In addition, CC comments about “competitive pricing” and increasing costs along with expected remarks about macro uncertainty, might be troubling investors.

Nokia’s  Lumia offer discouraging initial sales data, with Pac Crest predicting fewer than 1M shipments in Q4. Sales fell below a prior forecast of 2M. They are but selling a tiny fraction of the ~30M iPhones analysts expect Apple (APPL) to ship. It’s still early, and new carrier partners and phone releases could bolster Nokia’s standing, but the company definitely faces an uphill battle challenging Android and iOS.

Investing Insights: Will Apple and Intel Continue to Outperform?

Brocade Communications Systems Inc. : Brocade is up 6% after beating FQ4 estimates. It is guiding for FQ1 revenue of $530M-$550M and EPS of $0.12-$0.14, compared with a consensus of $535.3M and $0.11. Brocade rose 10% Q/Q, which was better than expected even though its storage switch revenue fell 4% Y/Y, partly due to competition from CSCO’s FCoE switches. Brocade also saw 14% Q/Q growth in Ethernet switch sales.

Fusion-io  sells off, and is issuing 3M new shares as part of the previously-announced follow-on offering at $33/share. Existing shareholders are selling 5.8M-7.1M shares. The company’s IPO lockup begins to expire on Dec. 6. A full expiration doesn’t occur until mid-February.

Qualcomm  announces Kyobo is launching the first e-reader to use Qualcomm’s Mirasol display technology. Kyobo is a bookseller in South Korean. Qualcomm has invested heavily in Mirasol. It touts Mirasol as combining the low power draw and readability of the e-ink screens found on most e-readers with color support.  Amazon  has tested Mirasol for use in its Kindles, and it remains seen whether it will adopt the Mirasol.

Nokia Siemens Networks   is announcing plans to slash operating expenses by $1B, and says it will cull 17K jobs from its global workforce by 2013′s end. Company strategy is to be reoriented to focus on mobile broadband and services.

TiVo  has a fundamental challenge - profitability – Vince Martin says, despite an impressive Q3 earnings beat. For TiVo to make money, it needs to grow its subscriber base — four-fold. But by then, Google and Apple will have moved into the arena, and things will most likely have changed dramatically.

Investing Insights: TiVo Inc. Earnings Cheat Sheet: Rising Revenue Helps Margins Expand.

Google’s  focus is narrower under Larry Page; the company announces it’s killing 6 more products/projects, to go with the ones axed in September. Among the initiatives being decimated are Google Gears, Knol, and a much-discussed project to develop renewable energy sources cheaper than coal.

Nokia  is the market’s top vendor with 28% share, but Android is seeing massive growth, and the iPhone is doing sharp sales on the high-end. China overtook the U.S. to become the world’s largest smartphone market in Q3, according to Strategy Analytics, with a jaw-dropping 58% Q/Q increase in shipments.

Don’t Miss: Pandora Media Earnings Analysis: Radio Market Share on the Rise.

Western Digital  gains 0.8% after its acquisition of  Hitachi’s  hard drive business is given a green light by EU regulators. Western Digital has agreed to sell a hard drive manufacturing plant and other “essential production assets,” in return for the go-ahead, and archrival  Seagate’s  purchase of Samsung’s hard drive division was cleared in October.

Yahoo  outperforms after it learned  Microsoft  has joined the ranks of firms to have signed Yahoo’s strict non-disclosure agreement. It is requiring the NDA of would-be buyers interested in taking a closer look at the company. Is Microsoft serious about making a bid, or does it just want a see inside the competitor/partner’s books? Everyone wants to know.

Renren  is now down 74% from its May IPO price, and makes new 52-week lows after Pac Crest’s Evan Wilson downgrades shares to Sector Perform. He also forecasts below-consensus 2012 revenue and EPS. Wilson is also worried about competition from  Sina’s   Weibo and Tencent (TCEHY.PK) , and also about a lack of differentiation among Chinese social networking sites.

Don’t Miss: Netflix Trades Give Whitney Tilson Whiplash.

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