Tech Biz Roundup: Kodak FILES SUIT Against Apple, Microsoft LAUNCHES Surface Tablet

Kodak (EKDKQ.PK) is filing a suit against Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in bankruptcy court, alleging that the latter interfered with its plans to divest its patent portfolio, by using its cash to strategically postpone royalty payments, thus blocking a sale of Kodak’s assets.

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Pandora (NYSE:P) shares sell off then rebound, following the news that Spotify is introducing a free, ad-based, Internet radio service for domestic users, which strongly resembles that of Pandora. However, the difference between the two services is that Spotify’s utilizes a “social graph” of user activity, while Pandora’s depends upon a music-analysis algorithm. Happily for the latter, its market share has so far withstood new rivalry, perhaps due to the time spent by Pandora users to create personalized stations, which generates a switching cost that keeps many from leaving.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) shares have a big day Tuesday, upgraded to Buy by S&P, with the launch of its Surface tablet, along with growing expectations that Windows 8 will become the rival to fear for the iPad. Indeed, worries regarding the tablet’s potential are already manifest: Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) shares are notably selling off. Completely cognizant of this, MSFT says that it’s pricing Surface along the lines of other Windows 8 tablets, and initially the product will be sold online and at Microsoft stores only. Analysts enter the fray, as Sam Grobart of the New York Times says that Surface might not so much rival the iPad, but rather become ‘a solution for tablet buyers who crave the added functionality of a notebook’. Peter Rojas praises the new tablet’s attention to detail, but believes that MSFT was remiss in not giving the ARM-based version a display that matches the new iPad’s.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) gets a second good news day in a row, as TBG Digital reports that its Sponsored Stories mobile news feed ads obtained a click rate at nearly twice that for its PC news feed ads, and 13.7 times as high as that for its PC ads in general. In addition, the revenue rate for 1,000 mobile ads is 165 percent higher than that of PC news feed ads, which must please investors who worry about Facebook’s ability to gain revenues from mobile viewing. One possible fly in the ointment here: TBG’s sample size was small, owing to the fact that FB has only recently been selling the mobile ads.

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