Amazon Web Services Slashes Cloud Prices, So Does Google: Weekly Tech Business Recap

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

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After one month that Windows 8 has generally been available, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced that thus far 40 million licenses to the product have been sold. The news was divulged by Tami Reller on Tuesday at the Credit Suisse 2012 Annual Technology Conference. Further, Windows 8 is surpassing Windows 7 in terms of upgrades, and Windows 8 was developed to work on existing Windows 7 PCs.

The Federal Communications Commission said Tuesday that the proposal by DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ:DISH) for a mobile telephone network would ruin the value of airwaves that the government intends to auction for commercial use. For its part, DISH has said that its capacity to add mobile-phone service to satellite television offerings could be hobbled by Julius Genachowski’s November 20th proposal to restrict power for the planned network.

The American installer of residential and commercial solar systems SolarCity (SCTY), expects that its initial public offering of 10.07 million shares should be priced at between $13 and $15. If the high end of the range is attained, the IPO could bring around $151 million, giving the firm a valuation in excess of $1 billion, which would make it the number two most valued United States-listed solar company, behind only First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR), with its market capitalization of more than $2.2 billion. SolarCity’s projects have been financed by big names such as U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) and Google.

On Tuesday in San Francisco, Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE:HPQ) was sued in federal court by a shareholder who claims that it hid that it had obtained control of the British software maker Autonomy Corp., based on financial statements that were in fact unreliable due to accounting manipulation, and then issued false and misleading statements.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and LG Electronics (LGEAF.PK) are being sued by an Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU) division which claims that they infringed patents for electronic devices which include phones and computers. The jury trial commences Tuesday in San Diego. The allegations originated from a lawsuit in 2010 by Alcatel’s Multimedia Patent Trust which accused Apple and LG Electronics of copying video-compression tech that permits data to be sent more efficiently via communications media, including satellites and the Internet, along with being stored on DVDs and Blu-Ray disks.

The world’s biggest online retailer, Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), has issued $3 billion of debt to help fund the purchase of its Seattle headquarters, marking its first bond offering in more than ten years. Proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes along with the $1.16 billion real-estate transaction, says Moody’s Investors Service, which rated the bonds Baa1. However, Standard & Poor’s  rated the debt at AA-.

The cloud provider Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ:AMZN) will slash S3 prices by between 24 percent and 27 percent across all regions, demonstrating its ability to add economies of scale to its information tech infrastructure and also offering a taste of how the company plans to use AWS to disrupt “old guard technology companies,” according to Senior Vice President Andy Jassy. AWS holds a head start on its competitors such as Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE:HPQ), but it is thought that all cloud players will challenge its position though they face a more mature rival which serves as the basis of multiple enterprise IT infrastructure. However, the competition between Amazon and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) should not affect the AWS relationship.

The Chinese solar panel manufacturers Yingli Green Energy Holding Co (NYSE:YGE) and JA Solar Holdings Co (NASDAQ:JASO) are boosting domestic shipments to outweigh slumping sales in western markets as they risk profitability for growth. Although prices for the panels are the cheapest in China, the firms there are reducing the prices even more to hopefully gain market share in a playing field that is expected to be huge by next year via government incentives. Analyst Mark Bachman at Avian Securities says that, “The pricing in China is some of the most cost competitive right now, so it doesn’t help gross margins to ship products into China.”

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) claims that its Xbox 360 sold 750,000 units last week, surpassing not only Nintendo Co.’s (NTDOY.PK) new Wii U which sold 400,000 units, but also the aggregate for all Wii consoles, according to The Los Angeles Times, which added that Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) has not thus far released Thanksgiving week sales data for its Playstation 3.

Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) seeks enforcement through a California court of its arbitration award that would prohibit Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) from  making or selling any product  equipped with wireless LAN capabilities until patent royalty fees can be resolved. Requests like this are made only after two parties settle a dispute via arbitration but one party does not keep the agreement, according to ComputerWorld.

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Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD) intends to divest and lease back its 58-acre campus in Austin so as to raise cash and pay for its chipmaking unit as it diversifies beyond the PC industry into new markets. The company hopes the sale will bring between  $150 million and $200 million and that the transaction should  in the second quarter, according to spokesman Drew Prairie to Reuters on Tuesday. This move, as reported earlier by the Austin American-Statesman, emerges as AMD and its larger competitor Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) must deal with stalling PC sales.  The firm has recruited JPMorgan & Chase Co. (NYSE:JPM) to assist in the exploration of options.

The digital metrics leader comScore (NASDAQ:SCOR) announced on Thursday the domestic Beta release of Media Metrix Multi-Platform which it calls the next generation of digital audience measurement and media planning. Selected key findings from September include: Google sites ranking first by being the only property to exceed 100 million unique visitors across both desktop and mobile channels; eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT), and Amazon.com each reaching a minimum of 20 percent more visitors across platforms than through desktop alone; Pandora (NYSE:P) seeing an incremental reach of 164 percent and capturing the number23 ranking; and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) moving up one spot to number 3 in the multi-platform rankings along with being as the top property in in total engagement in the mobile channel.

Knowledgeable sources say that the weakened Sharp Corp. (SHCAF.PK) is in talks with American tech firms looking for investments and has offered a stake to Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), among others, for a reliable supply of breakthrough display tech in return. Sharp is turning to potential business parters in the United States while its current negotiations with the Taiwanese contract manufacturing company Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. for an equity stake are stalling out. Other possible linkups for Sharp include Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC).

On Thursday, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) placed an additional $250 million in its Partners In Learning Project, a worldwide professional development program it formed to provide teachers with the requisite skills to teach information tech and other future-oriented subjects. The firm has been running this program since 2003 and thus far, it has invested $750 million.

A new music search service was launched Thursday by the Chinese Internet services and security software supplier Qihoo 360 Technology Co. (NYSE:QIHU). The service integrates results from Chinese online music suppliers Kuwo.cn, 1ting.com, and Xiami.com., but the service is  accessible solely through the firm’s So.com search portal. Music search for Qihoo 360’s online web directory is supplied by Sohu.com’s (NASDAQ:SOHU) online search subsidiary Sogou.

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Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) has been enjoying some good press of late, with its reported early impressive sales of Lumia making some headlines. along with increasing investor good will. But, analyst Kai Korschelt at Deutsche Bank isn’t buying any of it, saying that “The firm’s retail and industry research indicates these initial stock-outs are caused by limited device supply, rather than overwhelming demand. Anecdotal evidence implies that many sellers have only received 5-20 devices per store with broader carrier distribution delayed in Germany & the United Kingdom.” Korschelt added that the cause for the low supply might be ongoing shortages of 28nm components.

The telecom expert Daniel P. Kelly has been named by the board of Tellabs (NASDAQ:TLAB) as the company’s new chief executive officer and president, effective immediately, according to a Thursday release. Kelly has more than 25 years of experience in a number of research and development roles at Tellabs, and has served as the acting chief executive and president since June 27, 2012.

General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) might make venture capital investments in tech start-ups and perhaps purchases as it steps up offerings of software built to analyze data collected from its industrial equipment, according to Bloomberg. Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt says that the firm, which is the world’s biggest maker of jet engines, diesel locomotives and medical-imaging devices, has reserved approximately $100 million for the investments, which will complement employment at its new research center in San Ramon, California. Additionally, GE is making a $1 billion investment in the industrial Internet, recruiting employees from tech firms that include Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) and SAP (NYSE:SAP) to help it improve the efficiency and reliability of its machines.

Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) have loosened the terms of their longstanding arrangement which will facilitate their attempts in competing for users on the world’s bigest social-networking service. The new rules will lessen the log-in, payment and advertising requirements for Zynga, which earns most of its income by marketing virtual goods in games played on Facebook. The new agreement removes the special status that the social-gaming leader Zynga has enjoyed since 2010 when Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and his Zynga alter-ego, Mark Pincus, formed their five-year pact.

Knowledgeable sources say that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) will release the next version of its Xbox video-game machine in time for the holidays in 2013, adding that the product will target Thanksgiving and Christmas sales. Also reported was that the company has yet to decide whether to unveil the new Xbox at an industry event like the E3 show in June or at a separate event dedicated to the machine. The new Xbox will appear one year following the debut of  Nintendo Co’s (NTDOF.PK)(NDOY.PK) brand new Wii U, which went on sale in the United States on November 18th. In the meantime, Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) is getting an update to its PlayStation console ready while Microsoft is still attempting to pull sales out of the current model Xbox 360 which sold some 750,000 over Thanksgiving weekend.

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Chief Executive Godfrey R. Sullivan of Splunk (SPLK) said Friday on CNBC that there is no discussion within his company in regards to takeovers.