Tech wrap: Microsoft earnings fail to excite

April 28, 2011

Microsoft reported a dip in quarterly sales of its core Windows operating system, mirroring a recent downturn in personal computers. The world’s largest software company met Wall Street profit estimates, as strong sales of its Office suite of applications and game systems took up the slack. “Microsoft to me is no longer a growth stock but it is a very attractive value stock. They continue to generate tremendous free cash flow. Their balance sheet is really unmatched,” Channing Smith of Capital Advisors said.

Sony could face legal action across the globe after it delayed disclosing a security breach of its popular PlayStation Network, infuriating gamers and sending the firm’s shares down nearly 5 percent in Tokyo Thursday.

Mobile privacy safeguards should also extend to third party application developers, two lawmakers said after reviewing the practices of four major U.S. wireless carriers.

Tech columnist Dan Gillmor encouraged readers whose privacy has been violated to take their business elsewhere, including from Apple, after statements from CEO Steve Jobs defending his company’s collection of location data didn’t fully square with what the company said before.

Panasonic said it would cut 17,000 jobs and close up to 70 factories around the world over the next two years in a bid to pare costs and keep up with Asian rivals. The cull comes on top of nearly 18,000 job cuts made in the past business year, for a total of around 35,000 over three years.

A group of Facebook shareholders is seeking to offload $1 billion worth of shares on the secondary market, a sale that would value the company at more than $70 billion, according to five sources. It would represent one of the largest transactions of Facebook shares to date and points to a growing wariness among early-stage investors and employees who fear Facebook’s growth cannot keep pace with its market valuation.  “It’s hard to imagine it will turn into a $270 billion company in the next few years,” said Sumeet Jain, partner at CMEA Capital, who has examined Facebook deals recently and has taken a pass.

Apple’s cloud-based music service could be called iCloud, writes GigaOM’s Om Malik. Malik made the assumption after a source told him that the domain name iCloud.com had recently been sold to Apple for $4.5 million.

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