Weekly Tech Biz Recap: Blackberry 10 Fiasco Furthers, Sony Slashing Jobs

Samsung (SSNLF.PK) will shell out approximately $4 billion on its chip plant in Austin; part of that will go to the makeover an existing production line and another to growing its production of system chips. These new expenditures are in addition to the 2.25 trillion won, or $1.98 billion, of investment the firm has spent on a new South Korean logic-chip facility announced in June.

Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has debuted a new cloud storage system for archiving data called the Amazon Glacier service. The new system is designed to store critical data that might not be needed frequently such as healthcare and financial records.

Bankrupt Eastman Kodak Co. (EKDKQ.PK) has just gotten a new headache: Hedge fund and noteholder Esopus has requested that the trustee overseeing Kodak’s bankruptcy look into its IP auction, because the “unusually secretive” bidding process will probably not be a benefit to its creditors. Press reports that the top suitors Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) are teaming up is causing a pause at Esopus regarding “the integrity of the bidding process”.

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Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) intends to slash between several hundred and one thousand jobs at a mobile phone facility in Sweden that currently employs 3,000, according to a local newspaper report. The move is reportedly part of an attempt to transfer hardware research and development to Japan, while at the same time maintaining software development in Sweden, which is the location of its former mobile joint venture partner Ericsson.

Research In Motion Limited’s (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry 10 fiasco seems to have become worse, as a source says to BGR that the former will stop development of the current version of BlackBerry Enterprise Server subsequent to an update due later in 2012 because of a lack of compatibility with BlackBerry 10 devices. Further, a next-generation version of the device that will support the BB10 will not support older BlackBerrys.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) says that it is cutting the price of the Xbox 360’s popular Kinect motion sensor from $150 to $110. In addition, the firm launched an Xbox 360 Essentials Pack priced at $80 in hopes of boosting sales of the console, which have faltered prior to an anticipated refresh in 2013. Last January, Microsoft reported that it had shipped 18 million Kinects since its release in November of 2010.

Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) reports that it is pulling the plug on its Postini e-mail archiving and spam filtering product. The purpose of this move is to transfer users to Google Apps. Postini was purchased in 2007, and boasts more than 26 million users.

Today is a  better day for Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) as its adds another ad format to its increasing repertoire. The firm’s Sponsored Stories ads, which are on a $1 million per day run rate, will from now on appear in search results.

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A potential security risk in the software supplied by the Siemens AG (NYSE:SI) division RuggedCom is currently the subject of a Department of Homeland Security inquiry. The software in question is used in specialized networking equipment and could thus allow hackers to attack power plants and other crucial infrastructure. This report on the vulnerability of RuggedCom marks the 90th such alert so far in 2012, regarding possible risks to critical infrastructure.

T-Mobile USA (DTEGY.PK) will directly challenge Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) as it intends to offer a new unlimited data service for a monthly fee that will enable its subscribers to enjoy unlimited data usage without any restriction on their download speeds. T-Mobile is losing customers, and this venture comes one day subsequent to MetroPCS Communications, Inc. (NYSE:PCS) substantially reducing the price of a similar service.

Shares of Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) move up on word of a couple of positive Bloomberg articles; one calls attention to the success in emerging markets of the company’s inexpensive Asha features phones.

Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) announces that it will launch Google Play gift cards in GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME), Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT), and RadioShack Corporation (NYSE:RSH) stores nationwide. The cards may be used for the purchase of movies, books, music, or for in-application goods for games.

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Comcast Corporation’s (NASDAQ:CMCSA) request to a court to force a subscriber who has filed a class action suit over the bundling of a modem with digital voice services to accept individual arbitration was denied by a judge on Tuesday, on grounds that it would be too expensive for the individual. This case is subsequent to a 2011 United States Supreme Court decision which upheld a class action waiver in AT&T contracts.

Some 45 percent of domestic consumers who are eligible to upgrade their phones during the next 3 months intend to buy an iPhone (NASDAQ:AAPL), says a Baird survey of 2,000 Web users in the United States. Approximately 31 percent are undecided and only 22 percent decided on purchasing an Android (NASDAQ:GOOG) phone. Additionally, 77 percent of iPhone owners intend to purchase another one, but only 48 percent of Android users say that they will stay loyal; 34 percent are undecided, and 17 percent indicated that they want an iPhone. As for current BlackBerry users, only 2 percent say they will buy another one. A majority of 51 percent of respondents are interested in an Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) smartphone, if the chatter is correct that one is coming, but only 7 percent claim to be interested in a possible Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) smartphone, which is also said to be in development.

Shares of Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE:HPQ) tumble, and bring other PC-related names along, subsequent to its fiscal third quarter results that included major top-line weakness, in PCs in particular, along with a sobering conference call. Needham created a list of H-P problems which includes the remark that the company is “a PC business struggling to find a place in the new tablet/ultrathin world while fighting off bottom-feeders.” In response, Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) shares descend to new multi-year lows, compounding the bath the company took on Wednesday from its own earnings statement. Other PC-related names suffering in kind in mid-afternoon trading on Thursday are Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD). With respect to Microsoft, the consumer and enterprise receptions to Windows 8 are now more crucial than ever, but the product has already gotten quite a wide mixture of initial reviews.

Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) says that its APQ8064 application processor will be used by the South Korean mobile phone manufacturer LG in an upcoming smartphone. This processor has topped competitors like Nvidia Corporation’s (NASDAQ:NVDA) Tegra 3 in benchmarks. Along with the performance of the MSM8960 baseband/app processor, this feat might show that Qualcomm’s research and development expenditures have made for a performance edge. Observers wonder now at the extent to which consumers will see the benefits of the extra horsepower.

Sony Mobile Communications (NYSE:SNE) confirms that it intends to slash some 15 percent of its workforce (1,000 jobs), by March of 2013 as it tries to return to profitability. In addition, Sony Mobile will transfer its headquarters from Lund, Sweden, to Tokyo. The company plans to eliminate some 650 positions in Lund, and the office there will now concentrate on software and application development.

Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) will unveil two Windows Phone 8 devices on Sep. 5th according to sources to The Verge. One, which is code-named Arrow, will be a costly device that, just as the Lumia 900, will at the beginning be exclusive to AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T). The second product, code-named Phi, will be priced at mid-range, and will be available at both AT&T and T-Mobile.

Autodesk, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:ADSK) second quarter results have brought Baird to say that its shares should be bought on their current slump, as most of the numbers deficit that was posted was due to repairable problems in execution, along with temporary slowdowns in certain geographic areas. However, shares of Autodesk’s industry peers have also fallen on Friday, such as those of Adobe Systems Incorporated (NASDAQ:ADBE). Both firms sell expensive software to media and entertainment professionals. Also, it appears that Stratasys, Inc. (NASDAQ:SSYS) and 3D Systems Corp. (DDD) might be two more companies sharing the ramifications of Autodesk’s results, as their own high-end 3D printers are typically used by product designers along with Autodesk’s CAD software.

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Peter Thiel’s Clarium Capital hedge fund is one of the latest to divest the majority of its huge pre-IPO Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) investment. The shares have spent Friday floating in the $19 sea, but Nicholas Carlson isn’t impressed with Clarium’s performance either, remarking that, “Peter Thiel, a billionaire genius in the realm of startups, is not a good signal maker for other stock market investors. If he were a lighthouse, he’d have you breaching your hull on rocks.”

Shares of Sohu.com Inc. (NASDAQ:SOHU) take advantage of Citron Research’s suggestion that Qihoo 360’s debut in the Chinese search market could cause Sohu, whose Sogou division is the market’s second player after Baidu, to be a buyout target. In the past nine months, Citron has been a continual bear regarding Qihoo.

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ)(NASDAQ:VOD) has won the top spot in J.D. Power’s annual evaluation of the United States’ mobile network quality, and was reportedly the best network in 5 out of the 6 regions covered, which measures problems like dropped call rates and Web connection mistakes. Further, U.S. Cellular Corporation (NYSE:USM) was awarded the designation of best carrier in the North Central region, but AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) was declared worst carrier in 4 of 6 regions. Verizon now expects that its network’s success will let it maintain premium pricing.

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The Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) versus Samsung (SSNLF.PK) war sees a skirmish in South Korea, where a court ruling says that the former violated two patents, and the latter one. Furthermore, the same court ruled that “no possibility” existed wherein consumers could confuse the two company’s smartphones. To conclude the matter, judges awarded small damages to each firm and also disallowed sales of infringing devices in South Korea, but none of them are the latest models.

Yelp (NYSE:YELP) shares might have plunged earlier in the week on worries regarding the effects of its Aug. 29th lockup expiration, but they have rebounded nicely Friday. Also, it appears that 15.4 percent of the firm’s float was shorted as of July 31st, and if Facebook’s pre-expiration activity is any model, it’s likely that more shorts could have accumulated during the recent selloff.

The July quarter sales figures of Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) and Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) were so dismal that IDC now forecasts that PC shipments will rise only by a scant 0.9 percent in the current year. It’s possible that even that forlorn forecast might be overly optimistic, considering the second quarter slump. Domestic shipments are predicted to drop a further 3.7 percent, after having already fallen last year.

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