Microsoft 'Scratches' the Surface: Tech Weekly

Tickers in this article: MSFT ORCL RHT RIMM

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The big tech story of the week wasn't about Apple , but it was iPad-related.

Microsoft unveiled its first-ever branded tablet, the Microsoft Surface, on Monday.

Microsoft Surface tablet

Microsoft did not release pricing or availability details for the tablets, but CEO Steve Ballmer said their prices would be "competitive" with other tablets on the market. The Windows RT version is 9.3 millimeters thin, comes with USB 2.0 ports, and has a similar weight to Apple's iPad. The Windows 8 Pro version is slightly thicker and heavier. Both devices come with a keyboard and a small cover that's held on by magnets, similar to Apple's SmartCover.

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The Surface tablets will be integrated with various Microsoft products, including Xbox, Skype and Kinect, as the software giant seeks to link its hardware and software.

Shares of Microsoft gained 2.27% this week to close at $30.70.

What would the tech world be without a week where Apple had some news?

Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White noted this week that the long-awaited Apple television set may come earlier than many are predicting.

Apple's manufacturing partner Hon Hai Precision, expects to start receiving LCD TV panel orders from Sharp in the third-quarter of fiscal 2012, which could lead to the television set's appearance on store shelves by Christmas.

Apple's iCloud was also in the news this week, as the service experienced a temporary outage on Thursday.

Shares of Apple closed the week up 1.39% at $582.10.


Oracle surprised investors by announcing quarterly results three days early.

Originally scheduled to report earnings on Thursday, Oracle reported after the close of trading on Monday, showcasing strong results. The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company posted a non-GAAP profit of 82 cents a share for its fiscal fourth-quarter with revenue on the same basis totaling $11 billion. The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was for earnings of 78 cents a share on revenue of $10.89 billion.

The company may have announced results early because Keith Block, former head of North American sales, left the company.

Shares of Oracle closed gained 1.08% this week to close at $28.00.


Red Hat shares plunged following its earnings report on Wednesday, but recovered most of the loss as traders digested the report.

The open source software provider reported first-quarter non-GAAP earnings of 30 cents a share on revenue of $315 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were looking for earnings of 27 cents per share on $310.77 million in revenue.

On the earnings call, Red Hat provided second-quarter guidance slightly weaker than Wall Street was looking for. The Raleigh, N.C.-based company said it expects to earn 28 cents to 29 cents a share on $320 million to $322 million in revenue. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect Red Hat to earn 29 cents per share on $330.83 million in revenue.

CEO Jim Whitehurst spoke to TheStreet following the earnings report, explaining why the open source specialist can thrive in a tough economy.

Shares of Red Hat fell 2.62% this week to close at $55.01.

Research In Motion has begun laying off staff, according to media reports, as the company continues to lose market share and relevancy against Apple and Google .

The struggling BlackBerry-maker has been laying off at least 10 employees at a time over the past several weeks, according to The Wall Street Journal, as it seeks to cut $1 billion in operating expenses by the end of fiscal 2013.

Shares of RIM slumped 9.5% this week to finish at $9.85.


Following in the footsteps of Research In Motion, beleaguered phone maker Nokia also announced major restructuring plans, as it seeks to stave off bankruptcy.

Nokia announced plans to shake up senior leadership, cut 10,000 jobs by 2013, close three factories, improve its Lumia smartphone, and sell its Vertu luxury mobile phone business.

Shares of Nokia lost 4.03% this week to wind up at $2.38.


RIM will be in the news again next week, reporting its first-quarter results after market close on Thursday.

Interested in more on Nokia? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

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-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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Tickers in this article: MSFT ORCL RHT RIMM