Weekly Tech Biz Cheat Sheet: Apple’s Flood of Updates, Groupon Expands in Europe

Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) launched its streaming service for the U.K. and Ireland. The company is offering the service for 5.99 pounds/month in the U.K and 6.99 euro/month in Ireland, and has established a long list of content partners. Concerns exist about Netflix’s licensing costs, as well as competition from Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Lovefilm subsidiary.

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GameStop (NYSE:GME) said it expects same-store sales for the fourth quarter and full-year 2011 to be down 1% to 2%. This expectation comes after sales of new game titles only slightly offset a sharp decline in hardware sales over the holiday period. The firm notes that it retired the remainder of its long-term debt and starts off 2012 with a debt-free balance sheet.

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) shipments are believed to have held steady, thanks in part to a 20% quarter over quarter shipment increase for the MacBook Air. The notebook relies on flash memory for storage instead of a hard drive. Digitimes Research estimates global notebook shipments fell 8.7% quarter over quarter in the fourth quarter, typically a seasonally strong quarter, thanks to the hard drive shortages caused by lost Thai manufacturing capacity.

Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) and Deutsche Telekom plan to cooperate on mobile Internet businesses, though the details are a bit vague. Deutsche Telekom says it’ll “start some services and activities with Groupon in the coming months.”

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) share of the United States smartphone market rose in the fourth quarter. It jumped from 26% to 43%, mostly at the expense of Android (NASDAQ:GOOG), which slipped from 60% to 47%, and Blackberry (NASDAQ:RIMM), which continues its slide hitting 6%, compared to 8% in the third quarter and 19% a year earlier

Eastman Kodak (NYSE:EK) has a new plan to cut the number of segments at the firm from 3 to 2 and create a Chief Operating Officer to help accelerate it into a digital company.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is now embedding content from its users’ Google+ streams into their search results in several different ways, which according to Jolie O’Dell is the “biggest change in a decade” for Google search. Watch out Facebook and Twitter!

Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) is making available Big Data Appliance (BDA), a high-end solution for the fast-growing analytics market. Like Oracle’s Exadata and Exalogic machines, the product features an integrated package of hardware and software out of the box. Initial reactions to BDA were mixed. Larry Dignan states that there is a lower-than-expected price tag, which suggests Oracle, is dead serious.

Investing Insights: Shares of Charles River, Kodak and Lululemon Show Price Strength in Tuesday Trading.

Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) plans to enter the tablet market in late 2012. It has learned from the hastiness of some of its rivals and understands now that consumers value the “ecosystem” of a tablet as much as the hardware. Moreover, CEO Michael Dell advised the firm will look to make acquisitions in the solutions and services space. It continues its transformation away from being a pure PC seller, and there may also be an expansion of the firm’s IP portfolio through strategic buys.

Don’t Miss: Dell to Take on Tablet Incumbent Players in Late 2012.

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) strike a multi-year strategic collaborative mobile partnership, which includes working together on smartphones and tablet manufacturing.

Alibaba (ALBCF.PK) will buy back a 40% stake, which is currently held by Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) by taking a $3 billion loan, which is down from an earlier estimation of $4 billion. Alibaba would make up the difference by tapping its cash reserves, estimated to be $3 billion or more. The reduced loan could attract more lenders to the deal.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) confirms it has bought Israeli flash-storage company Anobit. Anobit supplies chips for the iPad and other devices, and Israeli mediate reported last month that Apple paid around $500 million for Anobit investors of which included Intel (NASDAQ:INTC).

Kindle Fire (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Nook Tablet (NYSE:BKS) are going head to head with Asus, which is rolling out a $250 seven-inch model of an Android tablet featuring an Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) Tegra 3 CPU. ViewSonic says it will sell a 7-inch tablet with a less powerful chip for $170.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) plans to restructure its marketing operations according to Bloomberg reports. This could potentially cut hundreds of jobs in the process. The move is said to stem from a belief Microsoft isn’t obtaining a sufficient return on its billions in annual marketing spending.

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Target (NYSE:TGT) confirms a report to open 25 Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) stores within its own outlets. The deals will also it to start incorporating five smaller boutique stores, including Cos Bar and The Webster, which is a part of Target’s attempt to refresh its bulls eye brand.

TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO) CEO Tom Rogers confidently tells Bloomberg TV that the firm has shifted from “on demand” model to a “get whatever you want, whenever you want” model, and that it will be highly profitable this year. In part the success will be had by resolutions from ongoing legal disputes with Microsoft, Motorola Mobility, and Verizon over IP claims.

Don’t Miss: Wednesday’s CES Recap: Apple Aims at Education, Sony’s Xperia Smartphone.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has resumed its expansion in China two years after scaling back its operations following a censorship dispute with the government. It is attempting to capitalize on Android’s growth, its online-advertising, and its product-search services by recruiting more engineers, salespeople and product managers in the country.

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) (NASDAQ:VOD) will no longer roll out smartphones and tablets on its network that don’t support 4G LTE connectivity, which might be a hint to the iPhone 5 supporting LTE. But the decision represents an attempt by Verizon to exploit its lead relative to AT&T (NYSE:T) in deploying LTE services, and could be a modest positive for Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), given the higher chip content of 4G devices.

Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) CEO Joe Clayton tells Reuters the firm more Blockbuster stores than originally planned may close. He is backing off of a commitment made this summer to keep 90% of the outlets open, and states that surviving stores could sell Dish subscriptions and provide customer support in the future.

Don’t Miss: Rioting at Beijing Apple Store Over iPhone 4S.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tanya Harding at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

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

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