Tech Business Recap: RadioShack Smashed, Apple’s New Hire

RadioShack (NYSE:RSH) shares go from Neutral to Buy at Janney. The firm says RSH is “seeing a somewhat dramatic shift to a structurally lower gross margin, and we are unclear where this shift will bottom out.” The firm cites concerns over RSH’s post-paid business with carrier partner Sprint (NYSE:S), which the company blamed for much of its weak guidance.

VeriFone Systems (NYSE:PAY) shares shoot up on word that Mastercard (NYSE:MA) seeks to introduce a new credit card technology using chips instead of magnetic stripes. This should be a revenue driver for VeriFone, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Millenial Media, Velti (NASDAQ:VELT) and other mobile advertisement firms, may have news to cheer about, suggests advertisement firm, Fiksu. It estimates that the cost of obtaining a dedicated iOS app user raised $1.81 in December, but this might be less celebratory news for developers. The download volume for the top 200 free United States iPhone apps is believed to have grown 60% over this time, to 6 million downloads/day.

Tellabs (NASDAQ:TLAB) fourth quarter shares are down after the firm posts its fifth straight quarterly loss and estimates it will take a pretax charge of $107 million in the first quarter as it makes more cuts. Tellabs will fire another 530 workers, bringing the total to 860 workers after a cut of 330 was announced in July. It is also closing operations in California, Vancouver, Bangalore and Karachi.

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) Xeon CPUs are what SeaMicro servers rely on, rather than the Atom CPUs that were used in prior models. SeaMicro is a maker of low-power servers, and Intel’s ability to develop Xeon chips (typically used in more power-hungry servers) that are capable of meeting SeaMicro’s needs could bode well for its ability to deal with pending competition from ARM Holdings Plc. (NASDAQ:ARMH) based server CPUs.

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) hiring of Dixons CEO John Browett to run its retail operations seems a tad strange, as Dixon’s stores are known to be anything but elegant; a key attribute of Apple stores. Moreover, while Apple touts Browett’s commitment to customer service, a 2009 survey gave Dixons’ PC World chain very low marks.

Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) said goodbye to Palm CEO Jon Rubenstein who left its web operating system unit a week ago. Next on the list? Chief architect Brian Hernacki stepped down as well. After deciding to hold onto webOS following the unwillingness of would-be buyers to accept a $1.2 billion price tag, H-P’s options for saving face appear few and far between.

Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) tablet efforts, reports The Verge, won’t include a version based on its Metro tablet interface. Time constraints are to blame. With the iPad and the Kindle Fire claiming huge head starts, a tablet-centric version of Office for Windows 8 may have had the potential to lift Microsoft’s enterprise tablet prospects.

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To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com