Facebook Under Scrutiny in Italy, Microsoft Scores Court Victory: Weekly Tech Business Recap

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

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Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA), the biggest maker of social games, has lost two additional executives — Vice President Roy Sehgal and General Manager Steve Schreck are exiting as the firm struggles to retain top managers during a stock price decline. Sehgal, leaving in order to take time off, joined the firm in 2009 and created Café World, according to a phone interview on Saturday. Schreck wants to join a game startup founded by Mike Verdu, another Zynga alum, said the firm.

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ)(NASDAQ:VOD) will shut off its Vcast Video on December 15th. The mobile video service was one of the first of its kind in 2005. However, Verizon intends to keep up its Viewdini video discovery service along with mobile access to NFL games via NFL Mobile. The Vcast Video closing accompanies the firm’s shutting down its Verizon App Store.

It was a big court decision for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) last week when the United States District Court Judge James Robart ruled that Motorola Mobility (NASDAQ:GOOG) could not disallow the sale of Microsoft products that it claims violates its H.264 patents. The Xbox, Windows, and other Microsoft products won’t be banned from sale in the United States or in Germany, according to a prior report by ComputerWorld.

It is anticipated that Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD) will launch its Radon HD 8000 series GPUs in the second quarter of next year as it is currently conducting a business reorganization to improve over its poor third quarter performance, say  upstream supply chain sources. The company had first intended to make the intro at the end of the current quarter so as to compete against Nvidia Corporation’s (NASDAQ:NVDA) products. The latter has been gaining traction in China’s discrete graphics card market while AMD’s shares already fell to 30 percent in that market and is now assertively trying to launch the Radeon HD 8000 series to regain its prior momentum.

Knowledgeable sources say that Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) will not likely to make a counteroffer for MetroPCS Communications (NYSE:PCS), instead concentrating upon closing its $20.1 billion transaction with Japan’s Softbank Corp (SFTBF.PK). Sprint had said in mid-October that Softbank would purchase as much as a 70 percent interest in Sprint, but the carrier now believes that its making a bid for MetroPCS, which has already consented to a takeover by Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile U.S.A., would complicate the current regulatory review of its deal with Softbank, according to the sources.

NSN Services, a division of Nokia Siemens Networks (NYSE:NOK)(NYSE:SI), could be shut down because a crucial contract with Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY.PK) will not be extended, according to two inside sources on Tuesday, who added that such a closure would be announced on Wednesday at an employee meeting in Kassel. NSN brings in less than €100 million, or $130.7 million, in yearly sales and employs about 1,000 who ensure that calls and data are transmitted by means of overhead cable networks. Deutsche Telekom sold the business to NSN some five years ago.

Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) reaches an arrangement with Synacor (NASDAQ:SYNC) that could lend it access to millions of cable and telecom subscribers. The latter is a tech firm that supplies authentication services, along with Web-based TV solutions, and with this deal, it will offer Zynga games to 45 cable, satellite and telecom companies. Beginning in 2013, Synacor’s customers will be permitted to offer their subscribers access to games from their homepages as well.

Nokia Siemens Networks (NYSE:NOK)(NYSE:SI) announced on Wednesday that it will divest its business support systems unit to Redknee Solutions (RKNEF.PK) as part of its move to sell off non-core assets. The buyer will pay €15 million, or $19.63 million, along with a maximum of €25 million for “performance-based cash earn-outs.” Additionally, Nokia Siemens had said on Monday that it will sell its optical fiber business.

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In a Wednesday press release, Vringo (AMEX:VRNG) said that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Vringo Infrastructure, has filed an additional patent infringement lawsuit against the United Kingdom subsidiary of ZTE Corporation (ZTCOF.PK). The plaintiff seeks “a declaration that its patents have been infringed by ZTE’s activities, and that the Court use its full legal, equitable and injunctive power to stop ZTE’s activities as may be appropriate in the circumstances.”

Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Azure Storage is now in the cloud price battles with a price reduction of as much as a possible 28 percent for certain customers effective December 12th. The price drop, which follows two price reductions last week from Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and one from Amazon Web (NASDAQ:AMZN) services, indicates a looming price war as the majors of the cloud vie for market share in the emerging cloud market.

Shares of Pandora Media (NYSE:P) ended up more that 17 percent down on the day Wednesday as the firm’s bleak forecast has its effect on Wall Street, which was already unhappy with the company’s business model. Fiscal third quarter net income was posted at just above $2 million, one cent per share on sales of $120 million in the period that ended October 31st. Pandora is pushing hard for the Internet Radio Fairness Act, which would decrease the royalty payments Pandora and other webcasters must pay in order to stream music to subscribers, while several members of the subcommittee that is examining the matter were critical of the legislation and made known their support for music artists. If that is not enough, there is ongoing chatter that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is poised to debut a rival Web radio service.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is said to be considering the purchase of Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Atlas Solutions ad-serving platform, say knowledgeable sources, who also believe that the latter has been conducting due diligence on the platform, comprising part of its endeavors to form its own advertising network so as to rival Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) DoubleClick offering. It also appears that Atlas has been discretely up for sale for awhile and the platform has been inspected by several firms, among which include Adobe, according to sources.

United States District Court Judge Lucy Koh will once again get to see her no-doubt favorite litigants Thursday, as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung (SSNLF.PK) return to a Silicon Valley courtroom where the latter will request that she or some other federal judge dismiss or soften an August $1.05 billion patent judgment that was decided against it. During the hearing, the parties will likely take shots at each other in regards to the damage award, which was among the biggest ever in cases involving intellectual property.

The networking equipment analyst Paul Silverstein at Credit Suisse said Thursday that the trend towards replacing networking equipment with software-defined networking not nearly the threat to Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) and Juniper Networks (NYSE:JNPR) and other traditional vendors as it has been thought, and that it is actually “more distant and limited than what appears to be the current view held by most members of the investment community.”  Silverstein went on to say that this week, he was at the Gartner Data Center Conference in Las Vegas, held by Credit Suisse, where “most enterprise IT professionals we heard from and spoke to at the conference appear to be at the initial stage of simply trying to understand what SDN is, not to mention what its value proposition entails.”

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QLogic Corporation (NASDAQ:QLGC) has been named by Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE:HPQ) as a supplier of 16Gb Fibre Channel connectivity for HP ProLiant Gen8 servers and HP ProLiant G7 servers, along with adapter solutions for the HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage which forms part of the HP Converged Storage portfolio.

Even given the myriad regulations it will face, Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) has begun the process of getting permission to conduct real-money gaming in the United States (in Nevada, of course). The company reported Thursday that it has filed an Application for a Preliminary Finding of Suitability in the state, a process which could take as much as 18 months. If Zynga is found to be suitable, it could then apply for a license which could take only two to three months more.

Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU) will be replaced in France’s leading stock index, the CAC 40, by smart-card maker Gemalto (GTOFF.PK). The latter’s market value has thus far nearly doubled in 2012,  putting an end to Alcatel’s 25-year tenure. Ths change is effective December 24th, but the remainder of the benchmark will be unchanged, said NYSE Euronext (NYSE:NYX), subsequent to its quarterly review of the CAC 40’s members.

Two Mexican firms who were awarded a $2.7 billion preliminary judgment against Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) in a dispute over a contract linked to an online Yellow Pages listings service reported Wednesday they might settle for less money, averting a lengthy legal struggle. The lawsuit had been brought in November 2011 by Worldwide Directories and Ideas Interactivas against Yahoo and Yahoo de Mexico.

Clearwire Corporation (NASDAQ:CLWR) announced in a Wednesday release a wholesale arrangement that will permit Kajeet to offer mobile broadband service directly marketed to users of Clearwire’s 4G network. The former is a top supplier of 4 gigabyte mobile broadband services in the United States, while Kajeet is the sole pay-as-you-go cell phone service that puts children first.

According to inside sources, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has set Friday the 7th as the deadline for the final round of bids in the auction for Motorola’s set-top box division as the company continues downsize the hardware unit. However, the same sources said that the deadline could be extended. Expected bidders include the cable-equipment maker Arris Group (NASDAQ:ARRS) along with private-equity firms.

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Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is under scrutiny in Italy as to whether it has regularly declared its income there, according to the firm on Friday. Italian police have been conducting checks at the the company’s Milano offices and Italian officials have accelerated  their endeavors to collect taxes in recent months. An investigative source said that tax officials first went to the offices almost a month ago to collect documents. For its part, the company said in an emailed statement that, “Facebook pays taxes in Italy as part of its business activity in the country and strictly complies with Italy’s fiscal rules.”

China Unicom Limited (NYSE:CHU) has recorded in excess of 200,000 reservations for the iPhone 5 (NASDAQ:AAPL), reaching that level in only two days and doubling the 100,000 posted on the first day. Additionally, Unicom says that it will offer a full subsidy for the handset, but only with a minimum deposit of around $947 US for a 16-gigabyte model. That money will be refunded monthly, with the exact credit depending upon the length of the contract. Also available are 32 and 64-gigabyte models, but with higher deposits.

Broadcom Corporation (NASDAQ:BRCM) announced Thursday that next year it will supply sample chips that support the latest high-speed wireless services to its top cellphone customer. Such a move should help the firm better compete with its larger competitor Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), which is years ahead in Long Term Evolution, the high-speed wireless tech being adopted by wireless service suppliers worldwide. The most recently launched devices, like Samsung’s (SSNLF.PK) Galaxy phones and Apple’s iPhone, already support LTE. Broadcom’s ability to provide LTE chips for those products would help it grow the revenue it generates from each phone.

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The telecom equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU) is  looking to offer its fastest-growing division, its Internet-routing business, as collateral for as much as €1 billion or $1.31 billion in loans through which to buy time for restructuring, say knowledgeable sources.

The chief of Dell’s (NASDAQ:DELL) Storage Group, Darren Thomas, is exiting the firm after several quarters of slumping revenue along with an infusion of new executive blood into the company. Spokesperson Gladys Elia said that, “Darren Thomas has decided to pursue a new opportunity outside of Dell. Alan Atkinson, vice president and general manager of Compellent, and Pete Korce, vice president and general manager of EqualLogic and NAS Storage Solutions, are leading Dell’s storage business at this time.”