Microsoft Surface Details, Google Drama: Weekly Tech Business Recap

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

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Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has released details in regards to its tablet PC Microsoft Surface. The device with Windows RT will at first be available in three models: a 32 gigbyte version priced at $499, a 32 gigabyte version bundled with a black Touch Cover at $599, and a version with 64 gigabyte bundled with a black Touch Cover at $699. Consumers will be able to buy Surface beginning October 26th, at all Microsoft Store locations within the United States and Canada.

Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) has recruited the senior Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) sales executive Henrique de Castro as chief operations officer, but it was not inexpensive as his total compensation could amount to $56 million over the next 4 years. The advent of de Castro at Yahoo seems to be getting mixed reviews from his former co-workers, who think that his IQ might outweigh his people skills, which could lead to the exit of the chief revenue officer Michael Barrett, hired by Ross Levinsohn. Meanwhile, Google has chosen its Asia-Pac/worldwide mobile head Daniel Alegre to replace de Castro as the chief of its Partner Business Solutions group which oversees advertising sales relationships with partners.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is being pressured by Chinese suppliers and Foxconn to accept price hikes because of increasing labor costs, says Digitimes. The firm’s stringent manufacturing quality-control and yield rate requirements have been said of late to be provoking labor disturbances at Foxconn and are impacting supplier profits. Thus far, Apple hasn’t responded to the price hike demands, say sources.

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There is much Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) drama on Wednesday, and it’s not over yet. The company’s third quarter results came out earlier than was expected and there was a reason for it, says Google: R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company filed a draft of its weak results without being authorized to do so. According to the now questioned report, the firm’s earnings per share of $9.03 missed consensus by $1.62, with revenue of $11.33 billion, which would be up by 51 percent year-over-year reinforced by the Motorola purchase, yet that number missed by $530 million. In late afternoon, Google released its official report and in it, Larry Page says that he is “really excited about the progress Google is making creating a beautifully simple, intuitive Google experience across all devices.” However, the key numbers do match the ones in the draft report released earlier. Shares were halted for a period, but resumed trading at 3:20 Eastern Time and are down markedly. The conference call is set for 4:30. Meanwhile, a number of Internet stocks are heading down in response to the ongoing situation, such as Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Yelp (NYSE:YELP), Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN), and Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA).

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Textron (NYSE:TXT) wins a $391.43 million contract to supply parts and components needed for the manufacture of 15 UH-1Y new aircraft, three AH-1Z remanufactured aircraft, and seven AH-1Z new aircraft. Construction should be completed in July 2015.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Chief Executive Larry Page appeared Tuesday at his company’s Zeitgeist conference in Arizona with a raspy voice. For a number of months, Page had been silent in public due to an ailment that was not identified and which led to much speculation.

Best Buy Co. (NYSE:BBY) will market its own-brand tablet, the “Insignia Flex,” for a price between $239 and $259, according to Reuters. The range is well under the $499 starting price for Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) 9.7-inch iPad and Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) new Surface, but is still above the $199 asked for Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD and Google’s Nexus 7. Insignia Flex runs Android and is set to go on sale on November 11th.

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Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) and Citrix Systems (NASDAQ:CTXS) are now officially collaborating. The former will recommend Citrix’s NetScaler application delivery controllers, which are rivals to hardware from Radware (NASDAQ:RDWR) and F5 Networks (NASDAQ:FFIV), to its clients. The firms will develop a cloud solution that unites Cisco’s UCS servers and Nexus switches with Citrix’s CloudPlatform, which is a competitor to VMware’s (NYSE:VMW) vCloud. In addition, the two firms will develop mobile solutions that show off their remote access, collaboration, and file-sharing tools.

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Shares of International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) are selling off in afternoon trading following its third quarter revenue miss. Bespoke analysts say that the stock’s results could be a negative for the overall market in the coming week. Since back in 2001, IBM’s one-day share reaction to earnings has been directly correlated to the S&P 500’s movements during the subsequent five weeks approximately 75 percent of the time, which counts the last four quarters.

First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) shares continue Tuesday’s gains on word the firm has won a contract to build a 13 megawatt solar plant for the Dubai Electric and Water Authority. The project should be completed by October 2013 and could foster future deals as Dubai has begun construction on a solar park which it expects to eventually produce 1 gigawatt of electricity.

Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) keeps on sliding after its third quarter results, which were accompanied by soft guidance and cautious earnings call remarks in regards to demand and inventories. Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) and Nvidia Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) are down modestly, but most other PC industry names are around breakeven. Meanwhile, Goldman says that margins will fall further in the first half of next year and Nomura believes that Intel’s declining cash balance will restrict stock repurchases.

Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU) will eliminate nearly 5,500 jobs worldwide as part of €1.25 billion in cost reductions that it first announced in July. The company will slash 3,300 positions in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, along with 1,490 in France, which should quickly get the attention of the government there.

Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) has bought control of Clearwire Corporation (NASDAQ:CLWR) through first buying out one of the latter’s other investors, Eagle River Holdings, in an arrangement that gives Sprint an interest of 50.8 percent. Earlier, observers had figured that Sprint might reach a deal through Intel or Comcast in which it would be permitted to name a majority of directors to Clearwire’s board.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) reports that it activated 6.8 million smartphones in the third quarter, out of which 3.4 million were Android phones, and many of that number likely being Galaxy S III units and 3.1 million were iPhones. These figures contrast favorably with 2.9 million Android phones and 2.7 million iPhones in the second quarter. The communications major added that 21 percent of its approximate 650,000 iPhone activations involved LTE devices such as the iPhone 5 (NASDAQ:AAPL) for which supply problems are said to be responsible.

A ST-Ericsson (NYSE:STM)(NASDAQ:ERIC) NovaThor baseband/application processor will be used in Samsung’s (SSNLF.PK) new Galaxy S III Mini phone. Just last week, Bloomberg had it that Samsung might be a potential suitor for the mobile chip joint venture which is thought to be mulling a sale.

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Shares of Juniper Networks (NYSE:JNPR) moved up on previously discussed rumor it has recruited JPMorgan to help it find a buyer. Now it is thought that EMC Corporation (NYSE:EMC), which has long been said to be pondering the acquisition of a networking vendor, is identified as a potentially interested party. However, Juniper has a market cap of $9.7 billion which might be a bit much for EMC, given its current market cap of $53.8 billion, and that does not count a premium

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The government of India announces that it wil impose a fee as high as $4.24 billion on Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD), along with other local carriers for any “excess spectrum” that they own.

Shares of Clearwire Corporation (NASDAQ:CLWR) slipped further after SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son declares that he is still open to bidding on MetroPCS, which would make it more unlikely that Sprint might acquire the former in full, near-term.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is in discussion to divest its Atlas display ad-serving and measurement unit to privately-held AppNexus, say sources to AdAge. Reports have already emerged that Microsoft, whose Online Services business just posted a $364 million loss for its fiscal first quarter, might leave the online ad market as it must compete there with Google (NASDAQ:GOOG).

On inspection, Computerworld says that the new Samsung (SSNLF.PK) Chromebook, which goes for $249 and runs on Google’s Chrome operating system, is “outstanding for light Web browsing and Web-oriented work.” However, it believes that the ARM-based device might be underpowered for more demanding tasks. The Chromebook represents Google’s best attempt thus far to obtain a mass following for Chrome OS.

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Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) will slash its workforce in Japan by 3,800 by March 2013 as part a restructuring through which it will reduce its staff numbers by 10,000. The firm intends to shut a Japanese camera lens and mobile phone plant down in the overhaul which should save it ¥30 billion, or $378.6 million, per year.

Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) has resolved a trademark infringement lawsuit that it brought against another game developer which was trying to add “ville” to the end of its titles. The firm greatly values brand identity, especially in the digital and physical toy markets in which it wants to create a sensation with a new partnership with Hasbro (NYSE:HAS).

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is apparently not purchasing Color per se as was previously reported by AllThingsD, but it did recruit its engineering team for somewhere between $2 million and $5 million.

Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) will join Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL), International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM), and perhaps Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) in the development an integrated server/storage/networking box. The former says that its new Active System line is distinct form the others in its use of industry-standard hardware which keeps costs down, and also via management software that reduces installation times, along with automating basic tasks.

Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) leaves the South Korean market following years of competing against local rivals such as NHN and Daum. Yahoo Korea has between 200 and 250 local workers, and will close down there in December.

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