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Tech wrap: Microsoft’s Office shines, Windows lacks luster

Microsoft reported a greater-than-expected 30 percent increase in fiscal fourth-quarter profit, helped by sales of its Office software, but profit from its core Windows product fell on soft PC sales. Microsoft posted net profit of $5.87 billion, or 69 cents per share, compared with $4.52 billion, or 51 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. That easily beat Wall Street’s average estimate of 58 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“These are great results given a slower PC environment and it highlights how the company has multiple revenue streams. The $17 billion unearned revenue, which is a forward indicator of business, shows they signed a lot of deals this quarter,” said BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis.

AT&T posted better-than-expected subscriber growth for the second quarter, pushing its profits and sales past Wall Street estimates despite the loss of exclusive U.S. rights to sell the Apple iPhone.

Nokia’s outlook for its handset business to be profitable in the current quarter brought some relief to its battered share price but analysts doubted it would dispel fears about the future of the onetime cellphone leviathan. Nokia said it sold 16.7 million smartphones in the quarter, falling behind Apple’s 20.3 million iPhones. Its quarterly phone sales volume were down 20 percent from a year ago, missing analysts’ forecasts, at a time when the overall global market grew around 10 percent.

After a brief hiatus and an FBI takedown of several alleged “hacktivists,” two groups that claimed responsibility for a recent wave of cyber vandalism said they are back. A statement was posted online on Thursday jointly by the groups, Anonymous and Lulz Security, after U.S. authorities arrested 16 people earlier this week for several attacks, most prominently Anonymous’ attempt to cripple eBay’s PayPal site after it stopped accepting donations to the WikiLeaks organization.

from Reuters Money:

Cybercrime: 3 threats to watch for this holiday season

A generic picture of a woman working in an office sitting at her desk typing on a computer. REUTERS/Catherine BensonHoliday shopping: It's down to the 11th hour and rather than jostling for a parking spot or fighting for a fitting room, more consumers are choosing to shop online or on their mobile devices.

Sure, shopping online can save you some coin on shipping costs, and using a smartphone certainly makes price comparisons infinitely easier. But consumers are trading convenience for safety, according to a new study sponsored by Norton and conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research.

“It’s the amount of activity that makes people more vulnerable," says personal finance expert Jean Chatzky. "People just aren’t being as careful as they should be in a number of different ways."Jean Chatzky is pictured in this undated handout photo. REUTERS/Handout