Tech Biz Weekly Roundup: Eastman Kodak Cash Crunch, Netflix Loves BBC
AT&T’s (NYSE:T) talks to sell T-Mobile assets have died down, sources say, the strongest sign to date that the $39B deal may fall apart. A divestiture could have helped push the deal past regulators, so AT&T will likely have to choose now between fighting the Department of Justice in court or settling for a scaled-back arrangement such as a JV or minority stake.
Samsung (PINK:SSNLF) takes aim in the tech world’s ongoing patent war, filing new claims against Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in an ongoing infringement case in Germany. The four new complaints include the use of emoticons.
Don’t Miss: Zynga Shares Continue Downward Spiral.
Eastman Kodak (NYSE:EK) is reportedly having a hard time raising much-needed cash. Sources are saying the firm is facing difficulty both in selling some of its patents and in borrowing more money. Kodak needs at least partial success in its efforts to help keep it out of bankruptcy court.
British Telco (NYSE:BT) is suing Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) for infringement of six patents it claims cover everything from search to Google Maps to Android. Matt Rosoff sees the suit as more evidence the patent system is out of control, but concludes BT’s move “looks like negotiations in public, with a settlement soon to follow.”
Emulex’s (NYSE:ELX) products, according to the ruling of a California court, are infringing on two of Broadcom’s (NASDAQ:BRCM) patents. The products include Ethernet chips used in storage adapter cards based on next-gen Fibre Channel over Ethernet technology, as well as storage switches that rely on traditional fibre channel technology. Broadcom is seeking a permanent injunction on the sale of the infringing products.
Investing Insights: Saudi Prince Buys 3% Stake in Twitter.
Belden (NYSE:BDC), a networking cable maker trades lower after stating it will make a C$22/share ($C280M) offer for RuggedCom, a Canadian maker of industrial-grade networking gear. RuggedCom says it has formed a special committee to evaluate Belden’s proposal. Its shares are currently trading at C$22.66 on the Toronto exchange (up 66.5%), which suggests investors expect a higher bid.
Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Eric Schmidt tells an Italian paper his company will release a high-end tablet. Presumably it will be based on Ice Cream Sandwich, in the next 6 months. The iPad has thus far left every high-end rival fighting for scraps Google needs to hope the Kindle Fire’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) success, mixed blessing though it is, will help narrow Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) tablet app lead relative to Android.
Don’t Miss: A Glimpse into Amazon’s Corporate Strategy.
Sony (NYSE:SNE) sold 321,400 units of its handheld PlayStation Vita in its first two days on sale in Japan. Sony still didn’t beat out Nintendo’s (NTDOY.PK) 3DS which was almost double that of Sony’s PS Portable in 2004. Still, the 3DS has flopped and hurt Nintendo’s profit outlook for this year, while the PS Portable has sold 73M units.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) buys Israel’s Anobit, a maker of flash storage technology, for $500 million, and it also plans to open an R&D center in Israel; Apple’s first outside the U.S.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) could ship 6 million Kindle Fire units by year’s end, and 15.5 million – 20.5 million next year, according to Goldman Sachs. Mobile ad network Millenial Media, is also believed to be weighing an IPO, and claims the number of ad impressions it’s delivering to Kindle Fire users has been growing at a 19% daily pace, with the monthly total now in the “hundreds of millions.”
Investing Insights: Barclays: Tech Stocks Offer Great Growth Stories for 2012.
Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) makes gains after striking a deal with the BBC to include its shows in Netflix’s streaming service for the U.K. and Ireland. It will also feature content from Lionsgate and MGM according to the deal. The service is set to launch early next year.
Olympus (OCPNY) is reportedly preparing to issue $1.28 billion in new shares to make the balance sheet look tidy. Sony (NYSE:SNE), Fujifilm (FUJIY.PK) and Panasonic (NYSE:PC) may be possible buyers, although a top shareholder has warned about the board trying to retain control by issuing dilutive stock.
Don’t Miss: Will AT&T Really Bid for Dish Network?
AT&T’s (NYSE:T) deal collapsed and it was aided by a Stifel Nicolaus report raising the possibility that Dish (NASDAQ:DISH) “could very well be the next target for AT&T….we believe Charlie Ergen realizes he is unlikely to ever get a better offer than from a moderately-desperate AT&T that needs spectrum and needs it quickly.”
NBC (NASDAQ:CMCSA) announces that the Super Bowl will be streamed online and to Verizon (NYSE:VZ) mobile phones for the first time in history. This marks another milestone for the slow shift of live content away from traditional cable and satellite providers.
Verizon (NYSE:VZ) gives back some of today’s gains after Bloomberg reports the U.S. government will be examining its spectrum purchase/reseller deals with cable providers. Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) have also gone down, though slightly.
Don’t Miss: Will Oracle Deliver After the Closing Bell?
Sprint (NYSE:S) files separate lawsuits. Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) Cable One (NYSE:WPO), and Cox Communication are those being attacked by Sprint alleging that the companies have infringed on up to 12 of its digital patents without the carrier’s permission.
Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) shares trade higher in premarket action after reports crop up that big players such as Microsoft, Nokia, and Amazon were contemplating buying the embattled company over the last several months.
Investing Insights: AOL Steps into a Shareholder Storm.
Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android is now seeing over 700,000 devices activated per day, claims mobile chief Andy Rubin. That figure translates into an annual sales rate of over 255 million units from which Google can generate search and display ad sales. The company mentioned in October its mobile business had reached a $2.5 billion annual run rate. The number is likely higher at this point.
Nielsen (NYSE:NLSN) a consumer research firm as well as comScore (NASDAQ:SCOR) have settle their patent dispute by entering into a cross-licensing agreement. As part of the deal, comScore is acquiring four Nielsen patent families asserted in the dispute, and Nielsen is acquiring around $19 million worth of comScore restricted stock, which it agrees to hold for at least a year.
Don’t Miss: comScore and Nielsen End Litigious Environment.
Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) has built prototype Android phones running on its Medfield Atom chips. The prototype support features such as the “burst” shooting of 8MP pictures, and the streaming of Blu-ray quality video. However, specs alone won’t allow Intel to challenge ARM-based chips in the smartphone and tablet markets: it has to contend with ARM’s (NASDAQ:ARMH) edge in power consumption, and the hesitance of OEMs to support another chip architecture.
Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), a cable operator was ruled against by an FCC judge who ruled in favor of independent Tennis Channel, saying that it favored its own channels – Golf Channel and Versus – in violation of the FCC’s anti-discrimination rules. The agency’s chief administrative law judge ruled that Comcast should immediately pay the maximum fine of $375,000 and must stop discriminating against Tennis Channel.
Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM) introduces the first 40-gig transceiver chip for long-haul optical networks to be made with regular silicon (CMOS). As SemiAccurate notes, rival products are typically made using more costly, power-hungry materials. Broadcom has recently been stepping up its efforts to compete with the likes of AMCC and PMCS in the growing market for 40G networking chips.
Investing Insights: Intel Throws Down Gauntlet on ARM Holdings.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was shot down in a German court on its patent suit according to a preliminary assessment. Apple claims that a redesigned version of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 still looks just like the iPad. A prior ruling that the original version imitated the iPad’s design had led to a ban. Apple can take solace in the fact that sales of high-end Android tablets have thus far been dismal.
Zynga’s (NASDAQ:ZNGA) dominance of the market is fraying according to Facebook’s list of the 10 most popular social games of 2011. While Zynga’s games claimed 4 spots on the list (#3 and #5-7), the top spot went to Gardens of Time, a product of Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) Playdom subsidiary, and the second position went to Electronic Arts’ (EA) recently-launched The Sims Social.
Investing Insights: Micron Technology Inc. Earnings Cheat Sheet: Margins Keep Shrinking.
eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) has acquired BillSAFE, a German developer of technology for allowing online shoppers to conclude a purchase by means of an invoice (popular in Germany and certain other European Union countries), for an undisclosed sum. eBay plans to integrate BillSAFE’s solutions with those of its PayPal unit. This is its latest move to expand the arsenal of tools it provides for online merchants.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is staffing up. It’s announcing the opening of four total new fulfillment centers in Virginia and Tennessee requiring combined 2,650 new staff.
First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) +2.2% premarket as a Bloomberg story discussing the company’s attractive valuation following its recent selloff rekindles takeover chatter. “First Solar is still profitable,” a Kaufman analyst explains. “So you are buying the best in the industry at a discount price. Certainly for both GE and Siemens (NYSE:SI), it would diversify their energy platform.”
Don’t Miss: Intel Plans Price Drop.
Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) has told its customers it plans to slash on its Sandy Bridge processors, claims Digitimes. Some Core i3 and i5 parts are expected to see 10%-15% drops. Such a move would help clear inventory ahead of the spring launch of Intel’s Ivy Bridge chips – the company’s recent warning was partly blamed on inventory issues. This could increase the competitive pressure faced by AMD.
Electronic Arts’ (NASDAQ:ERTS) request to have a $400 million lawsuit filed by top rival Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI) thrown out by a California judge was denied. Activision is alleging Electronic Arts broke the law by trying to hire two executives at Activision’s Infinity Ward studio while they were still under contract. The executives, meanwhile, are suing Activision for wrongful termination.
Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) is acquiring SetJam, ahead of its pending acquisition by Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) a developer of customizable widgets for embedding online video content into websites. SetJam’s offerings could conceivably be integrated with either Motorola’s set-top boxes, or with GoogleTV.