Weekly Tech Business Recap: Amazon’s New Kindle Fire, Apple’s Live TV

Shares of both Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Yelp (NYSE:YELP) take a dive Tuesday, subsequent to Groupon’s second quarter disappointment. Yelp might be impacted as well by the underwhelming second quarter results by Angie’s List, Inc. (NASDAQ:ANGI), along with ongoing concerns regarding Google’s acquisition of Frommer’s. Meanwhile, Facebook’s first lock-up expiration is two days away; the executives there have to be concerned about that, especially after Angie’s List shares also plunged on Tuesday after its own expiration ended, with investors holding 44 percent of outstanding shares becoming eligible to sell.

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Recently hired employees at Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) retail stores, especially those in the United Kingdom, have seen their jobs taken away, and the company is also said to have been making long-term cutbacks in hours given to part-timers. The former Dixons Chief Executive John Browett was recruited by Apple in January to manage the firm’s retail operations and to increase profitability; these job cutting moves are likely his, but it’s also known that the company typically keeps an exceptionally large number of employees per store.

Ascent Solar (NASDAQ:ASTI) shares spiked for the second straight day on the announcement of its solar charger/case for Samsung’s Galaxy S III. Tuesday’s gains resisted Cantor reiterating a Sell, in which the analyst pointed out that its past consumer products have not brought revenue, and also forecast Ascent will run out of cash in the first half of next year.

Analyst Craig Berger at FBR says that the next iPhone (NASDAQ:AAPL) will be “the most impactful device in Apple’s history”, as he believes that the product might be good for between 50 and 52 million builds in the fourth quarter, and possibly more than $50 per share in earnings during its lifetime. Further, Berger thinks that the chip supplier Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) could be a top beneficiary, and also that Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation (NYSE:FCS) and NXP Semiconductors’ (NASDAQ:NXPI) gains in chip content are relative to the 4S. Besides Berger, several analysts predict blowout iPhone sales in the fourth quarter.

A new Kindle Fire tablet that was submitted by Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) to the Federal Communications Commission has been approved. The device will possibly have dimensions of a 4:3 ratio, which would be more like the iPad and not widescreen Android tablets, along with a 10-inch display, according to a review by Nate Hoeffelder.

Liberty Media Corp. (NASDAQ:LMCA) closes in on taking control of Sirius XM Radio Inc. (NASDAQ:SIRI), as its grows its investment from 46.2 percent to 48 percent. Chief Executive Greg Maffei of Liberty last week commented that he wants to get a portion of the cash his company has spent on buying Sirius shares back, remarking that the latter needs to borrow money to buy back shares or to pay dividends.

Shares of Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) moved up premarket following remarks made by company Chief Executive Stephen Elop, which indicated that a Windows 8 smartphone would be ready in a “relatively near term,” and hinted that it might occur at the Nokia’s trade show in Helsinki on Sept. 5th through the 6th. If the firms pulls that off, it would predate the launch of Apple’s new iPhone by at least a week. However (as anyone who follows Nokia’s fortunes would expect to hear right about now), S&P downgraded the company’s debt rating from BB+ to BB+, with a negative outlook, pointing out lower revenue, earnings, and cash flow predictions to due Nokia’s market share losses.

Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) facial recognition technology is the subject of a reopened inquiry conducted by German data protection officials, who allege that the firm is illegally collecting a huge database of users’ photos without their consent. In response, Facebook says that its European Union operations are headquartered in Ireland, where such policies are legal. In any case, the maximum penalty would be €25,000, but such a finding couldn’t help the company’s PR efforts.

Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) now offers its new customers a $100 AmEx gift card when they buy any smartphone, which includes iPhone 4S, for which the firm has made large purchase commitments, but it recently felt pressured to cut its prices by $50. Apple’s retail stores subsequently equaled the reduction.

Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT), Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW), Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT), and Best Buy Co. (NYSE:BBY) are among the 14 top retailers that are expected to unveil on Wednesday the Merchant Customer Exchange, which represents a strategy in which a mobile-payments network that will compete with those from Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) and cellular carriers, will be jointly developed, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Chinese Internet stocks bump up on Thursday, thanks to strong earnings reports from the messaging and gaming major player Tencent Holdings Adr (TCEHY.PK) and Sina. Sohu.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:SOHU) was another sector stock that exemplified the rally. Tencent had been favored in a Wall Street Journal write-up prior to earnings, and jumped by 6.4 percent in Hong Kong trading following its revenue post of $1.65 billion, which rose 56 percent year-over-year, plus a net income of $487 million.

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Verizon Wireless’ (NYSE:VZ) spectrum-purchase transactions with Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE:TWC), along with other cable providers has been okayed by the Justice Department, with the proviso that Verizon and the cable suppliers desist from re-selling each other services in FiOS areas, plus other stipulations to preserve competition. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission now favors the approval.

In what took very little time, shares of Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) are floating about the $20 level near the Thursday close on the day of its first lockup expiration, and are near their post-IPO lows. Also down on the day are shares of other recent consumer Internet IPOs, such as Groupon, Inc. (NASDAQ:GRPN), Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA), and Yelp (NYSE:YELP). Somewhat separately, Facebook is attempting to accelerate its acquisition of Instagram, according to the Financial Times. The proposed deal remains under review by the Federal Trade Commission, but FB is exploiting a California law that allows it to issue stock without registering with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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It’s currently thought that one of Nokia Corporation’s (NYSE:NOK) upcoming Windows Phone 8 models could be a mid-range device, as a leaked image one of its parts imply a device with a 4.3 inch display, curved edges, and no unibody polycarbonate design. Additionally, an image leaked in the past week suggests that a high-end device, perhaps a PureView model, might be coming.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is talking to Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE:TWC) along with other top cable operators, regarding the building of a set-top box which would enable viewers to watch live broadcast TV and other content, according to the Wall Street Journal. Such a feat would mark a major upgrade from Apple’s existing device that does not carry network television, and a major breakthrough in its attempts to win over denizens of the living room.

Samsung (SSNLF.PK) is scheduled to introduce on Thursday its Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet in the United States, United Kingdom, and in South Korea, hoping to attack Apple’s complete dominance. The Galaxy Note 10.1 is differentiated from the iPad with its stylus and ability to have two applications active on a split-screen, but it’s expensive at $499 for 16 gigabytes and WiFi only, which might make observers dubious as to its ability to succeed.

Nvidia Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) wins another high-performance computing design competition as Cray Inc. (NASDAQ:CRAY) announced that it will employ the former’s Tesla graphics processing units in its next-generation supercomputer, which is code-named Cascade. Nvidia’s Professional Solutions division that includes Tesla, suffered an 8 percent quarter-over-quarter revenue drop in the past quarter, which Nvidia partly credited to weak European demand.

International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) Vice President Bob Cancilla says that his company intends to keep its five-year long acquisitions spree of storage firms going, even after its purchase of Texas Memory Systems, by snapping up additional firms in the storage industry, according to Bloomberg.

The Zillow (NASDAQ:Z) rival real-estate website Trulia is filing for an initial public offering, and is currently expecting to raise as much as $75 million in the act. Trulia’s first half 2012 revenue was posted as $29 million, which was up 78 percent year-over-year, but still suffered a loss of $7.6 million. The company has applied to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker TRLA, according to its S-1.

Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) and Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) have formed a partnership, through which Zynga Poker and Draw Something will be now pre-installed on Nokia’s well-selling Asha feature phones. Zynga’s approximately $210 million purchase of OMGPOP brought the firm Draw Something, but the game has been experiencing slumping user activity, but in June, Zynga pleged to develop games for Windows Phone hardware like Nokia’s Lumia line.

Bankrupt Eastman Kodak (EKDKQ.PK) might not divest its patent portfolio after all, as the initial bids were far under expectations. The historic camera giant says currently that it “may retain all or parts of it as a source of creditor recoveries” while on Monday, extending the deadline for patent offers.

The favorable Markman ruling obtained by Vringo, Inc. (AMEX:VRNG) in June has been upheld for the most part by a United States district judge, according to Dow Jones. The decision is linked to a lawsuit filed by Vringo against Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), AOL Inc. (NYSE:AOL), and other Internet companies; the judge kept his definition of one of the technical terms that was discussed in the ruling, and “slightly tweaked” his definition of another one.

The current business climate in India is the source of complaints from tech firms trying to operate there. Dell’s (NASDAQ:DELL) Asia Pac executive remarks that “Doing business in India is difficult because the problem is there are too many decision makers”, and John Chambers of Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) used Wednesday’s earnings call to complain that “We continue to see India challenged largely self-inflicted by their own internal issues.” In general, multinationals note unclear investment rules, retroactive taxes, infrastructure problems, and much more, with mounting displeasure.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) shares are having a bad Friday (after a bad Tuesday and Thursday) as they are floating around $19 in late afternoon trading. The stocks are down 9 percent since the first lockup expiration Thursday, and off a whopping 49 percent from their IPO levels. Mark Zuckerberg is said to have commented this month on the potential effect of the share slide upon employee morale and retention, at a company meeting. Worse, it’s now calculated by SecondMarket that anyone who has purchased the shares since November 2010 is currently underwater.

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Sprint Nextel Corporation’s (NYSE:S) most recent strategy for stopping share losses to AT&T and Verizon comprises the offering of $400 of in-store credit to families who, before September 15th, transfer a minimum of 3 lines from another carrier to a Sprint Everything Data Share or Simply Everything Data plan. The promotion arrives subsequent to Sprint’s offer of $100 AmEx gift cards to new customers, which led to the reduction of iPhone 4S prices.

Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC): Lenovo Group Ltd. (LNVGY) predicts that Windows RT (NASDAQ:MSFT) tablets will cost between $200 and $300 less than other Windows 8 tablets, which implies that they could start near $300, says Business Insider.

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