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August 3

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Trending Tech: Apple-Samsung Patent Case, HP’s Triumph over Oracle & Tech Acquisitions

August 3, 2012

The anticipated patent battle between Apple and Samsung began Tuesday as the tech giants squared off in a debate over smartphone designs. On day one of the high-stakes trial, both sides revealed key evidences and brought in witnesses to back up their claims. On the flip side, another legal battle drew to a close as HP triumphed over Oracle. AT&T has agreed to acquire NextWave in a spectrum push and Google scooped up WildFire to boost promotion services on Google+.

10. AT&T to buy NextWave, a holder of unused wireless spectrum
The constant increase in consumer data usage pushed AT&T to acquire NextWave Inc. in a $600 million deal that includes repurchase of debt from bondholders. The deal could give AT&T more room on the airwaves for wireless broadband, but it would need the approval of U.S. Federal Communications. If AT&T gains all required regulatory approvals, it could start using Wireless Communications Services band in about three years to offer high-speed services.

9. Facebook stock takes a plunge, amid other pressing issues
Facebook shares dropped below $20, down nearly 47 percent from its $38 IPO in May. Think the plunge in stocks and sluggish earnings reports were bad? Wait until a new torrent of shares hit the market in a few weeks, as additional shares are released mid-August pending lock-up expirations. The lock-up provisions are just the latest issues to blemish Facebook’s IPO, which has fast turned into a prominent disappointment.

8. Yelp breaks social media’s losing streak
Yelp posted better-than expected quarterly results, showing strong revenue growth. It even shared expectations for its next quarter growth. Yelp sent its stocks soaring as it posted record revenue of $32.7 million in the second-quarter. The overall loss was $2 million, less than analysts’ estimates.  While Facebook and Zynga caused Wall Street to panic, Yelp is inspiring more promise with anticipated success through the end of the year.

7. Microsoft’s Outlook hits a million users
Microsoft completed an overhaul of Hotmail, its widely used, but culturally fading email service. Outlook.com will allow users to sync their accounts with various social networks and include the ability to chat and have video calls. It will also offer free Office Web Apps that allow users to open and edit attachments right from their inbox. The preview version became an instant hit as one million users signed up just hours after the introduction. Reviewers are positive and feel Microsoft is keeping pace with Gmail as it takes a dramatic leap forward in reimagining personal email.

6. Google adds advertising start-up Wildfire to its ad tech stack
Google+ is on fire after acquiring WildFire for $250 million to bulk up its advertising team. WildFire is a start-up company that helps marketers manage their campaigns and presence on social media platforms. The deal could lead to Google providing advanced promotional services for businesses and brands that want to run marketing campaigns on Google+.

5. Oracle purchases Xsigo Systems to boost cloud prowess
Oracle has acquired Xsigo Systems, a provider of network virtualization technology, adding to its recent cloud technology acquisition spree. The company that initially objected to cloud computing has now embraced it in recent months. This deal will help to extend Oracle’s virtualization capabilities and continue to build on its cloud strategy.

4. Hit by weak demand, Sony’s loss widens
Sony reported a quarterly loss of $316 million, showing its failed attempt to keep up with rivals. Affected by the weak global economy and exchange rate shifts, Sony slid by 77 percent in operating profit, which is far below analysts’ expectations. Still reeling from four consecutive annual losses, Sony’s promise for a quick turnaround faltered as it slashed its profit outlook.   

3. New rules proposed for children’s online privacy
In an effort to tighten rules on web-site privacy for children, the FTC proposed tougher rules that will make it harder for third-party websites to collect personal information from users under age 13 without parental approval. Facebook released a statement agreeing and accepting FTC’s proposed amendments to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule. The new rules are intended to bring the outdated federal rules into the mobile era.

2. Oracle suffers big loss to HP over server software
In a major trial between Silicon Valley tech titans, HP emerged victorious as a judge ruled that Oracle is contractually obligated to develop software for certain high-profile server systems sold by HP. The trial sprang from Oracle’s announcement in March 2011 that it would stop developing new versions of its software for HP servers. HP sales were hurt by Oracle’s decision to withdraw its popular software. With the recent triumph, HP stands to gain as much as $4 million in damages.

1. Apple and Samsung face-off in court as one of the biggest patent trials begins
The high-stakes patent case between Apple and Samsung began on Tuesday, with their respective lawyers delivering opening statements. The two powerhouses are battling to protect their leadership in the cutthroat smartphone business, in which Samsung has surpassed Apple as the market leader. On the opening day, both sides attempted to bolster their arguments with plenty of evidence. As a squabble in their patent case continued for a third day, Apple has asked District Judge Lucy Koh to impose a severe “penalty” on Samsung, as it claims the mobile giant has allegedly tried to taint the jury by sending out materials excluded from the trial. The case could potentially affect the outcome of other battles involving companies claiming ownership of key smartphone innovations.

Disclosure: Microsoft, Google (Motorola Mobility) and Samsung are Weber Shandwick clients.