Tech Business Roundup: LDK Shares Slammed, Apple OWNS Mobile

LDK Solar (NYSE:LDK) shares plummet then bounce back, following its fiscal fourth quarter earnings report. Earnings per share fell $4.63 against consensus of 90 cents, and revenue of $420.2 million was short $24.4 million, down 54 percent year-to-year. Further, the quarter’s gross margin was down 65.5 percent, compared to a 3.6 percent loss in its fiscal third quarter, and plus 27.3 percent year-to-year (fourth quarter). LDK forecasts a revenue range of $190 million to $230 million for its fiscal first quarter, noting that “Weak market demand and rapidly declining average selling prices reduced our revenue and adversely impacted our margins in the quarter.”.

The mobile phone sector’s first quarter figures were monopolized by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung (SSNLF.PK), as the two firms comprised 74 percent of revenue and 100 percent of the profits, says Raymond James’ Tavis McCourt. Other suppliers did make some money, but among them, their profits and losses cancelled each other out. At any rate, McCourt believes that the Apple/Samsung dominance poses a challenge to Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), which might lead them to look into buying Huawei and ZTE.

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Harman’s (NYSE:HAR) impressive first quarter results cause its shares to soar. Earnings per share jumped by 23 percent to 74 cents, while net profit increased by more than a factor of four, to $172.7 million as a result of a one-time tax gain. In more good news, the firm says that it was awarded a $2 billion contract from an unnamed automaker.

Shares of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) continued to move up Monday, as they followed up on Friday’s post-earnings gains, despite the deal between Microsoft and Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS). Money from the linkup will enable B&N to challenge Amazon’s assertive prices of e-books, that will appear once that company reaches a resolution with the Department of Justice. David Carnoy opines that an enhanced consumer confidence in B&N’s longevity will be an end result.

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Chatter abounds that Mark Zuckerberg’s new Viddy account means that Facebook (FB) might have an acquisition of the new star mobile video-sharing service in its plans. Viddy is said to be seeking capital at a valuation of $370 million, and other analysts are noting the similarity between Viddy and Instagram. One thing most agree on, is that there would be little opposition inside FB for a Viddy buyout.

Why are software and media downloads from from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and other foreign companies, so much pricier in Australia than anywhere else? Mac OS X server costs $728 there, compared to $499 in the United States, and a copy of Microsoft Office 2010 is $883 in Oz, but $349 in the U.S. The Australian Parliament is looking into the matter.

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Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) reports that despite reviews of its XPS 13 ultrabook (goes for $999), that complemented its looks but panned its display, the product is enjoying nearly three times the anticipated demand, from both businesses and consumers. Meanwhile, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) must be encouraged that a pre-Ivy Bridge ultrabook like this is doing so well, considering that company’s large stake. In addition, NAND flash memory vendors SNDK and MU also gain from ultrabook adoption.

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